Students of BYU-Hawaii seeking help in matters concerning domestic abuse, dating violence, or harassment, can find help on campus. The offices of Title IX, Security, and Counseling are resources to help students have a safe experience on campus. The deputy coordinator of Title IX and students voiced their take on Title IX, preventative methods, and overall safety.
Offering a solution to Title IX issues, the university’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator Rebekah Strain, said, “People need to respect their dating partners. Set clear boundaries, and back off when told no. Communication is key. Having security is great, but having the communication and respect would solve a lot of Title IX issues.”
In the Title IX brochure, offenses are recognized as the following: sexual harassment, stalking, dating or dating violence, sexual violence or assault, and consent.
But not enough students are aware of Title IX’s role, said Nikita Ramos, a junior from Alaska studying cultural anthropology. “I’m not sure if students fully understand what Title IX is. Not paying attention could be part of the problem, and the fact that there are so many cultures here could lead to misunderstandings about Title IX.”
According to Ramos, cultures have misunderstandings and traditions about dating. She said, “Cultures have different views of what is okay and what is not okay.”
All students attending BYUH are required to sign the Honor Code. Ramos said, “It comes down to if you sign the Honor Code, you agree to live by it.”
Responding to alleged rape cases from Aug. 30, Strain said, “The Laie Voice reported that two rapes happened on campus on the same day and lots of people got upset and scared. We responded by sending a message to everyone clarifying the situation.” Security reported the rapes were actually sexual assaults off of campus.
According to Strain, Title IX is about safety regarding sexual misconduct. She specified, “Domestic violence, stalking, and Facebook stalking are included. Since I’ve been here, I have not had a case where a stranger jumps out and rapes someone. It’s still good to be careful.”
The central part of Strain’s position at Title IX is to help victims of sexual abuse. She said, “I do everything I can to help the reporting party. We are here as a resource to help you. In serious cases, we coordinate with Security to help people be safe. We also have a connection with Counseling.”
When a victim of abuse come to the Title IX office, Strain said she assess a person’s schedule, housing, and work to see if the person feels unsafe. Steps are taken to make sure the person is safe.
Campus Security offers protection through an app called Rave Guardian. It is working on developing an updated app as well. Security personnel oversee and monitor users. The app has a feature that allows timers to be set up, and upon expiration, Security will be notified about the timer and the location. Users can also send anonymous location-based tips and multimedia messaging to notify Security of potential safety issues.
Strain recommended, “If you see something, like friends having trouble or issues start to rise, intervene or report to Title IX. Just watch out for each other.”
Ramos said she thinks students would not want to report abusers because they do not want the abusers to get into trouble. “I’ve spoken to other girls about this, and we wouldn’t want them to get deported or get in trouble. If they do get deported, it could cause trouble for reentry. A lot of girls would say, ‘Oh, well maybe he’s trying to get to know me, and I’m taking it the wrong way.’ Girls can be unsure about that.”
Seeing the efforts of Title IX and Campus Security, Mark Bulos, a sophomore from the Philippines majoring in supply chain management, said, “The fact is they are trying. I see almost all the TVs on campus promote or give information about Title IX.”
For more information on the Rave Guardian app, click here.