Students and faculty members are getting involved with the planning for a 7C sexual assault prevention and education center following the Student Deans Committee’s decision to sponsor focus groups across the campuses.
The committee has employed therapist and consultant Tiombe Sewell SC ’95 and Mandy Mount, the director of campus assault resources and education at University of California, Irvine, to lead roundtable discussions and information sessions across the campuses.
Scripps College Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson wrote in an email to TSL that the deans are seeking feedback “to help shape the center and to establish the highest priorities in terms of the programs and services offered.”
Sewell said that some of the questions being asked of stakeholders in the sessions are “What are the unique qualities of the folks in the Claremont Colleges that need to be addressed by the center?” and “What sort of programs should be housed there?”
She said that she and Mount have heard many students emphasize the need for survivor support, bystander intervention training and “educational programs for other types of healing work.” Such programs could be art, yoga or “programs that might remediate the impact of trauma.”
She added that students have expressed a desire for the programs to be “very specialized and confidential so that people feel safe and that they can go somewhere and be provided with privacy when wanting to talk about these issues, specifically without wanting to necessarily report [them].”
Mount wrote in an email to TSL that the responses she has heard at the Claremont Colleges have been unique, in part because of the consortium culture and strong sense of community.
“While best practices exist across the nation at other Universities and colleges, each campus environment is unique in its needs, dynamics and relationships,” she wrote. “To ensure success of the center, it is important to be aware of, and responsive to, the needs of the community.”
In an email to TSL, Pitzer College Dean of Students Moya Carter wrote that “holding information sessions across the campuses that give students … an opportunity to provide feedback on space usage is critical.”
Pomona College Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum said that the sessions are in part a result of Pomona’s initial effort to assess students’ perspectives on sexual assault responsiveness on campus. She referred to the results of an audit that Sewell conducted in 2013 on Pomona’s invitation.
“A 7C center was one of the items students were asking for,” she said. “In some ways, what they’re doing now is an updated, more focused consultation around those issues.”