Editorial Board: All 7C Students Need Advocates

This year the administrations of the five Claremont Colleges revised their policies regarding sexual assaults on campus, as reported in TSL last week. The overarching goal of these policy changes was to unify the approaches that the schools take to handling instances of sexual assault, as well as to include a federally mandated change concerning Title IX requirements. In the past, having different policies at the five schools made the judicial process in response to an alleged sexual assault particularly difficult when the relevant parties attended different colleges. We are looking forward to the more standardized judicial process that these changes will bring in the future.

In this week's Special Features section we cover the complexities of the substance-free opening on the 5Cs, which exists partly to reduce the number of sexual assaults that statistically occur more often at the beginning of each school year than at any other time, according to interviews with various deans and student leaders. The Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, the Title IX Coalition, and the Teaching Alcohol Abuse Prevention program at Pomona College are also dedicated to preventing sexual assaults on campus.

With the growing recognition that sexual assault is a real problem on the 5Cs, as it is at colleges across the nation, the schools have rightly been attempting to create a safer environment and better response mechanisms to prevent and deal with these incidents. On an institutional level the schools have all addressed their policies, while students are also working together to create on-the-ground support systems for fellow classmates.

Claremont McKenna College and Scripps College are in the process of creating Advocates programs to give support to survivors of sexual assault, following in the footsteps of Pomona's well-established program. We applaud CMC and Scripps students and administrators for their efforts to provide better a support resource for survivors. The 7C sexual assault website is also a step in the right direction as an integrated place to find policies on sexual misconduct on campus.

But we are left wondering why Harvey Mudd College and Pitzer College have yet to establish their own groups similar to Pomona's Advocates. Especially when we consider the incredible mix of students who attend weekly parties that occur on all five campuses, it is a disservice to the Claremont University Consortium as a whole that two of the five undergraduate colleges have not created a student-based group to support survivors of sexual assault.

This editorial board offers that the best practice for CUC would be to implement a 7C support group, modeled after Pomona's Advocates and the developing Scripps and CMC programs but that includes students from every institution and has a staff member trained to help survivors of sexual assault. Students from each of the schools ought to have access to a 7C resource that includes a 24/7 hotline and trained staff in the case of a sexual assault.