Authorities say providing a safe learning environment at BYU-Hawaii means following correct protocol

Written by: 
Kevin Brown

Despite BYU-Hawaii being a secular institution of learning operated by the LDS Church where students and faculty must abide by the Honor Code, students say incidents of crime and assault are no stranger to its campus. Campus authorities urge students to understand what steps need to be taken in order to report incidents and protect themselves or fellow students.

 

According to the Campus Security website, they should be the “preferred contact point for reporting any crime on campus. However, students and employees may also report incidents of crime to other campus authorities having appropriate supervisory jurisdiction and responsibility for student and campus activities.” They are encouraged to work in conjunction with the Honolulu Police Department in reporting the incident.

 

Officer Young of the Honolulu Police Department said students should adhere to the university’s code of conduct and also contact Campus Security when necessary. “If [an incident] happens off campus, they should feel more than welcome to contact us, but they can really contact us on or off campus,” he said.

 

According to a statement from Campus Security’s website, “Often, the best defense against being the victim of a sex offense or any crime is one’s own personal alertness and awareness, and taking care not to place oneself at risk.”  

 

In order to provide prompt and accurate reporting, Campus Security said students should report crimes in progress directly to them by calling 675-3503 or 675-3911, or students and staff may also report a crime directly to the Honolulu Police Department by calling 911.

 

Rebekah Strain, the deputy Title IX coordinator at BYUH, said if students feel there is an immediate threat to their safety or another student’s safety then they should go directly to Campus Security first. “Once the immediate safety concerns are addressed, if there is any sexual misconduct involved then Security will notify Title IX.

 

“If a report goes directly to Title IX and there are safety concerns then Title IX will contact Security.” She said Title IX and Security work together to ensure the overall safety of the campus.

 

Strain said even if Title IX complaints are reported to Security, the Office of Honor or any other university department, they will reach their final destination in the Title IX office. “If in doubt about whether or not a complaint should be reported to Title IX, just report it and we will help you sort things out and get you the help you need.”

 

Every situation on campus is unique, according to Strain, with Title IX either playing a supportive role while ensuring proper services designed to help an individual, or a role of discipline.

 

She said common scenarios of misconduct she sees are “harassments after a couple breaks up where one won’t stop contacting the other, one is constantly saying harmful or malicious things about the other, one party is destroying or stealing the property of another as revenge, or harassment by making jokes or comments based on someone’s physical appearance or sexuality.”

 

She also said stalking can be a major issue within the church. “Sometimes men are told to be persistent when finding a wife, but if she says ‘no’ and you continue to contact her when she has asked you to stop, you are not being persistent, you are being a stalker.”

 

Although Title IX primarily deals with non-consensual or unwanted sexual interaction, Strain said they also address domestic violence within a family or violence within an abusive relationship. “If in doubt, report it.

 

“The principle behind Title IX is to create a safe learning environment. We want to help all parties feel safe. We also want all parties to get the help they need to cope or correct.”

 

Strain said Title IX incidents and crimes on campus could be dramatically reduced if all students and faculty treated one another with love respect. “If you respect your spouse, you will not abuse them, physically or emotionally. If you respect your dating partner, you will not pressure them to do anything that would hurt them or make them uncomfortable.

 

“If you respect your fellow student, you will not make sexual comments to or about them or treat them in demeaning ways. If you respect the person you want to ask on a date, you will not bother, pressure or force them to be with you.”

 

For more information on procedures for reporting on-campus incidents or general safety tips, visit the Department of Public Safety’s website at https://publicsafety.byuh.edu. Students may also reach out to Title IX or the Office of Honor for assistance.

 
Date Published: 
Friday, June 1, 2018
Last Edited: 
Friday, June 1, 2018