University offers informative meetings on sexual misconduct, Title IX resources


Kennady Basdekis-Morin / Hilltop Views

Dr. Lisa Kirkpatrick discusses ways to make St. Edward’s students more aware of their Title IX resources, working with Its On Us and the Title IX Student Advisory Board to create a plan of action preventing further assaults from occurring on campus.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, a crime advisory from the St. Edward’s University Police Department notified students about a sexual assault that took place on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Hilltopper Heights Apartments, leaving students feeling concerned and looking for answers.

As a result of the incident, Lisa Kirkpatrick, Title IX Coordinator and Vice President for Student Affairs, began working closely with St. Edward’s staff and student-led organizations to foster a safe, respectful and inclusive Hilltop. 

Informative meetings on Title IX resources and preventive actions were held these last few weeks through a university-wide committee consisting of UPD, Dean of Students, Recwell, Reslife and organizations such as It’s On Us and the Title IX Student Advisory Board.

“We come together as students, leaders and staff to engage our community on ways they can help us help St. Edward’s be safe, particularly around sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination,” Kirkpatrick said. ”We want to make it easy for students to come, learn and know what resources are available to them.”

Students learned how to define consent, be an effective bystander, file complaints, and what resources are obtainable to them whenever they witness or are personally affected by sexual harassment or sexual violence – on or off-campus. It’s On Us also referred to the four D’s if a student is trying to intervene safely – be direct, distract, delegate, or delay.

“Because of the crime advisory warning, we wanted to bring in the campus partners and create these events to educate the student body,” the president of It’s On Us, Destiny Nicoll, said. “Our idea was to go into the resident halls and reiterate what the campus partners do, what is sexual violence, what falls under Title IX and bring awareness to resources surrounding students.”

Many resources can be found posted throughout campus. (Kennady Basdekis-Morin / Hilltop Views)

As meetings become more frequent, students can start feeling confident in their safety on campus. Learning preventative training will also help Hilltoppers hold each other accountable as they build a stronger sense of community and culture.

“I think that this initiative is very important,” Resident Director Mariessa Joseph said. “Communication and language are essential, especially for students living an independent lifestyle on or off-campus, it lets them know that they are still a part of the community and have resources and support available to them.”

Other initiatives like the Safe Alliance, Safe Walk are leading campus culture towards solidarity, acceptance and security. Survivor Circles are also being held every second and fourth Thursday of every month, allowing students the opportunity to heal and find friendship in a safe space.

For students looking to get involved, the Title IX Student Advisory Board and It’s On Us are currently recruiting new members. Students can prepare to see a Campus Climate Sexual Assault Survey, between Feb. 21 and March 14, empowering the university to form a safer and more informed community for all students and faculty. 

Correction, Feb. 7: An earlier version of this article indicated that the Survivor Circles are held every second and fourth Friday of every month. For the Spring 2022 semester, Survivor Circles are held every second and fourth Thursday.