Tag Archives: Megan Peterson

Sexual assault can happen anywhere

Even at Central Penn, but awareness is power.

 By Sarayuth Pinthong

Knightly News Reporter

Sexual assault is very common on our nation’s college campuses.

Unfortunately, Central Penn is not exempt, but reports of sexual assault and sexual misconduct at Central Penn are rare.

Even though such reports are rare at Central Penn, with the help of Megan Peterson, Title IX officer and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, students can receive the knowledge that could prevent sexual assault, and possibly save the life of their friends and themselves.

Well developed policy

“Central Penn has an extensive sexual assault policy,” Peterson said. “In our sexual misconduct policy, we go through definitions of different types of sexual misconduct, what constitutes the action and the process that we would go through if a person would bring forward a complaint of sexual misconduct.”

According to Peterson, depending on the type of complaint and how the individual wants it to be handled, sometimes individuals come forward for only resources and support. Sometimes someone comes forward to report to ask for an investigation and hearing, or an informal resolution.

“We have a process for each, depending on how the complainant is comfortable moving forward,” Peterson said. “Our goal is to never force a complainant to handle their case in a certain way if they’re not comfortable.”

Unfortunately, there is an exception. According to Peterson, if a person were to be involved with a violent assault, Central Penn has an obligation to take action for the safety of the campus community.

About our campus

In 2016, Central Penn College had four reports of sexual misconduct, Peterson said. Compared to the amount of sexual assaults occurring on college campuses nationwide, four is a very low number.

2017 had fewer reports.

“If we are strictly talking about sexual assault/misconduct and not other things falling under the Title IX umbrella (harassment, dating violence, etc.), then there were two reported cases of sexual misconduct in 2017, and none so far in 2018,” Peterson said in an email on Feb. 2.

The college publishes an annual security report made available on the college’s website.  Students can view the reported numbers of different types of crimes or sexual misconduct. Individuals can use the report, along with other resources on campus, to be vigilant during their everyday life and better recognize the warning signs of sexual misconduct.

The 2016 report lists two reported violations, under the heading of “Sex Offenses, Forcible (Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Assault w/object and Fondling).” The other two misconduct reports may have been incidents that did not have to be included in the report. Disclosure of reported campus crimes investigated must be reported to the campus community and the public, according to the state’s Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

“One in four women are likely to be a victim of sexual misconduct while they’re a student,” Peterson said. “Seventeen percent of men are also likely to be a victim of sexual assault,” she said.

Being aware of sexual assault and the possibility that it could happen can benefit the Central Penn community.

“Alcohol is the number one drug of choice during sexual assault,” Peterson said.

On Jan. 24, the Central Penn College Diversity Committee and the Title IX Office held a discussion forum in the Capital BlueCross Theatre called “Food for Thought: An open, facilitated conversation about sexual harassment,” with two outside experts on the topic – one from the Carlisle YWCA and one from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape . Chief Diversity Officer Romeo Azondekon and Peterson also participated, with Peterson moderating. Dave Baker, Central Penn’s retention officer and athletics director, took Azondekon’s seat when Azondekon had to depart the panel discussion for a previous engagement.

A universal responsibility

The responsibility of sexual-assault prevention falls on everyone, experts say.

“If you don’t know that sexual assault is a risk, then you don’t know to be mindful and protective of yourself and your friends,” Peterson said. “From an awareness standpoint, we want to bring that issue to light. The more people that talk about sexual assault, the more people feel comfortable to address it.”

According to research, there are only two reasons sexual assault doesn’t happen. One, the person decided not to not move forward with the assault, or two, a bystander decided to intervene.

“If we’re not raising awareness and not having these conversations telling people what red flags to look for,” Peterson said, “the likelihood of knowing what to do and how to intervene is drastically lower than having an informed population.”

Peterson said changes to campus sexual-assault investigation standards from a preponderance of evidence to reasonable doubt that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has discussed implementing since her confirmation last year haven’t been put in place yet, and it isn’t known when they might be.

For more information, contact Peterson at (717)-728-2398 or meganpeterson@centralpenn.edu.


This episode of the podcast is also available at our SoundCloud page during the month of February at:  https://soundcloud.com/user-511685837/episode-49-megan-cline-and-megan-peterson

To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi, who provided some update reporting.

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Fall Job Fair and Student Accommodations Discussed on Latest Podcast

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-adviser

On the latest edition of the Knightly News Podcast, we are excited to welcome Career Counselor Rubina Azizdin to discuss the upcoming Fall Job Fair and Title IX Officer Megan Peterson to discuss student accommodations.

During our discussions with Azizdin, we discuss the importance of preparation for a job fair, including having the list of employers ahead of time and coming into the fair with a plan of attack.

We also examine the importance of professional dress and how the free professional clothing that the Career Services Department offers our students came to be and how students can take advantage of this resource.

Also, Azizdin recently won the Shining Star Award as part of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce’s Luminary Awards.   During our conversation, Azizdin believed this was directly related to her efforts with the Women’s Leadership Conference held at Central Penn College in April.

To read more about the Nov. 1 Job Fair – http://www.centralpenn.edu/about-central-penn/news-events-community/fall-job-and-internship-fair/

To learn more about Azizdin’s Shining Star Award – http://blogs.centralpenn.edu/knightlynews/2017/09/14/no-one-outshines-rubina-azizdin-2017-luminary-award-winner/

In the second segment of our podcast, we welcome Title IX Officer Megan Peterson to discuss the process of student accommodations.

During the show, Peterson discusses the services that her office can assist students with, and even went as far as being able to put students in touch with local organizations to further assist students who aren’t sure if they need these accommodations.

Peterson also mentions that accommodations at the college level are student-driven and initiated, a major change for many from public high schools.

While Peterson has now taken maternity leave, she explains that any questions or concerns regarding student accommodations can be handled by the Institutional Effectiveness Director Shawn Humphrey in the Title IX Office in ATEC 305.

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Diversity Committee Continues To Expand Inclusivity, Diversity

More “safe” spaces and ethnic studies are being considered for Central Penn

By Yuliani Sutedjo

Knightly News Reporter

and

Michael Lear-Olimpi

Knightly News Co-adviser

After three and a half years of discussion and research, Central Penn College recently installed a gender-neutral restroom to expand inclusiveness and diversity on campus.

The gender-neutral restroom is one of four among significant campus inclusivity initiatives the committee has been working on recently.

The restroom:

  • Accommodates the personal needs of transgender people.
  • Recognizes the views of people who do not identify with a gender.
  • Provides families of any gender composition a restroom for more than one member to use at the same time.

“It wasn’t just my idea, but also the Diversity Committee, who wanted to improve the school and look to open another safe space for inclusion and diversity,” said Romeo Azondekon, chief diversity officer, of the gender-neutral restroom.

The Diversity Committee consists of Central Penn faculty and staff members, and usually has a student representative.

Initiative 1 – easier equal access

The first initiative was to make doors at Central Penn accessible for people with a condition or illness that prevents them from opening doors without some assistance.

Automatic door-opening buttons were installed in the Advanced Technology Education Center (ATEC) in the second half of last year.

Previously, the doors were operated remotely by someone inside ATEC at the reception desk.

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Yuliani Sutedjo, communications major, and Lester McMillan, an entrepreneurship major, wash their hands in a gender-neutral restroom on Central Penn campus, Feb. 17, 2017. Photo by Sarayuth Pinthong

Initiative 2 – the gender-neutral restroom

Azondekon said the gender-neutral restroom was created not because there was a problem, but because such an accommodation is a part of Central Penn’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

“We believe in inclusiveness and diversities,” Azondekon said.

Personnel from Central Penn’s Facilities Department converted the men’s restroom on the second floor of ATEC into the gender-neutral restroom, which includes two urinals in stalls for privacy, and two toilets in stalls.

A black-on-gray sign outside the restroom says “Gender Neutral” in English and in Braille, and features silhouettes with clothing shapes that traditionally have represented a woman and a man, and one with half-male and half-female traditional clothing attributes, suggesting transgender individuals.

The room is also accessible to people in wheelchairs and with limited walking ability.

The sign outside of the ATEC Bathroom in the second floor lobby. Photo by Sy Pinthong.

The sign outside of the ATEC Bathroom in the second floor lobby showing the Gender Neutral designation. Photo by Sarayuth Pinthong.

The ATEC facility is in addition to two nongender-designated and handicapped-accessible restrooms in the Charles “T.” Jones Leadership Library. All restrooms in ATEC are handicapped-accessible.

The Health Sciences Building has a designated men’s room, women’s room and nongender-designated restroom, though it is not labeled “gender neutral,” according to Dr. Krista Wolfe, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The difference between gender-neutral and other nongender-designated restrooms is that the former are for people of any gender identification and the latter are generally for anyone to use one person at a time, or for family members to use together, such as when a parent or guardian is with a child who requires adult supervision or assistance.

Azondekon said the Diversity Committee hopes more gender-neutral restrooms will be established on campus.

“(We’re considering) at least one gender neutral restroom in each education building,” he explained.

The campus has a gender-neutral Super Suite, according to Title IX Officer Megan Peterson, who until recently was director of residence life. The unit is one of three themed residences to which students who qualify must apply to live. The others are for Lady Knight basketball players and one for the alumni association, of which current students can be members.

Initiative 3 – ethnic studies

Committee members are working on the third initiative, establishing an ethnic studies program.

“We’d like to have an ethnic studies track at some point,” said Maria James-Thiaw, professor of writing and a member of the Diversity Committee. “It’s something for the future, to better prepare students for the diverse workplaces and world they’ll be entering.”

When such a program would debut at Central Penn is not known.

Initiative 4 – a place to worship

Another project the Diversity Committee is working on is establishing an interfaith/nonfaith-specific prayer room, or other type of space where students can pray, meditate or engage in whatever reflective practice or ritual they choose.

“Some students expressed a desire to have a place where they can contemplate, or formally pray, that is private and quiet,” said Michael Lear-Olimpi, assistant professor of communication and a member of the Diversity Committee. “We have limited space on campus, and members of the committee and Mr. Azondekon have been talking with college officials, staff and faculty about where this space could be.”

Options that have been explored include sharing space with the campus courtroom, providing space in the library, and perhaps cordoning off space in campus housing. Each of these possibilities did not work out, though, because use of the proposed spots was heavier than widely known.

When a prayer space will open for use, or what it will be called or where it will be located, has yet to be determined. Azondekon said the search for a space continues.

“We need one,” he said. “It is important to people who want that.”

Change can take time

The gender-neutral restroom in ATEC was set up relatively quickly, because it involved modest alterations.

Other initiatives, such as establishing the prayer room, can take time because of specific logistics challenges, such as finding an appropriate place on a small campus.

“These initiatives are being discussed properly, and thought out thoroughly,” Azondekon said.


 

To comment on this story or to suggest one, contact KnightlyEditors@Centralpenn.edu.

Edited by Media Club Co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

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New Resident Advisor Program Moves into Central Penn Suites

Students are playing a larger role in supporting one another

 By Yuliani Sutedjo

Media Club Reporter

Welcome back, Central Penn Students!

The holiday season has ended and the winter 2016 term has begun.

During the fall 2015 semester, 15 of Central Penn’s 33 townhouses were renovated to become suites. The suites are designed so each student can have her or his own bedroom – each 9 by 12 feet. Some of that room comes from cutting the size of the kitchen.

Now, students have seven bedrooms and four bathrooms in each suite.

Central Penn College's Super Suite's on College Hill Road in Summerdale.

Central Penn College’s Super Suites on College Hill Road in Summerdale, Pa.

With that change comes a new resident advisor (RA) program that features 16 students working as resident advisors and seven nonstudent “area coordinators” who supervise the student RAs, and provide coverage after hours, according to Megan Peterson, Central Penn’s director of residence life.

Central Penn College has done a fantastic job updating us on the construction to the Super Suites.  Check out the progression at the Central Penn College YouTube page, with four clips hosted by Peterson: https://www.youtube.com/user/centralpennknight

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