Mark Garcia

mgarcia@foghornnews.com

One in 5 women is a victim of an attempted or actual sexual assault while in college, according to recent statistics.

While adhering to adequate precautionary measures and enhancing security on school grounds is both standard and vital in the prevention of such a crime, the issue could soon be undergoing some new revision on the legislative side.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that the Trump administration would soon be taking steps to revise the current policy regarding how such cases are handled and mandated by seeking to combine institutional knowledge, professional expertise, and the experiences of students to replace the current approach with a more workable, effective, and impartial system. DeVos also stated that the department will develop new guidelines that will continue to protect all victims of sexual assault, while also ensuring fair hearings for the accused.

Opponents to this new legislative proposal, such as Sarah Nesbitt, a public policy coordinator at the Texas Council on Family Violence, say that in reality, DeVos fails to understand the complexity of sexual violence, as well as the unique dynamics that could potentially impact a campus rape investigation. Others feel that in the long run, such new legislation would lead to nothing but totally ineffective results in adequately rectifying the issue.

Fortunately, both Del Mar campuses have maintained safe and controlled academic environments, and incidents of sexual assault have been virtually nonexistent. Rita Hernandez, lead counselor with Del Mar, attributes this statistic not only to effective campus security, but also because the college campus is strictly non-residential, unlike Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where students remain on campus after classroom hours in their living quarters on university housing. Hernandez also indicated that there have been no recent revisions on how incidents involving sexual assault on students attending Del Mar, and that counseling services will provide them with as much advocacy and out-side referral services as possible.

“We strive to ensure that any student gets the appropriate level of emotional care they need, and that client confidentiality is strictly maintained,” she said.

If you or someone you know have been the victim of sexual assault on or off campus, and wish to file a complaint against the student responsible, contact Cheryl Sanders, dean of student Engagement and Retention, in the Harvin Center, Room 204, or call 361-698-1277.

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