Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and the entire Southwestern College Community:
Recent events across many industries, including higher education, confirm that gender-based harassment and discrimination continue to be a significant problem. I am committed to making Southwestern College a safe campus for all, as well as a model of prevention and timely response if an incident occurs.
Consistent with Title IX and Southwestern College policy, students and employees have the right to a completely safe environment where they can learn and work free from any harassment or discrimination. I am working diligently with our Title IX Office to ensure we have the proper policies and procedures, as well as necessary resources, in place to appropriately respond to any potential Title IX issues. In furtherance of these objectives, we have implemented Board Policy No. 3540 and developed a handbook detailing the College’s new sexual misconduct protocols. The policy and handbook will be the guiding principles for our College in enforcing policy and emotionally supporting members of our community.
In addition to the above, it is my moral obligation to ensure that that students and staff have the tools they need to achieve their educational and professional goals. Those tools include a safe campus and specific training about how to identify sexual discrimination and where to turn for help (available resources). Meeting this moral obligation involves dedicated coordination between our Title IX Office, the Southwestern College Police Department, Student Services, Human Resources, and an independent investigation company to ensure that complaints are addressed in a timely manner and students and employees are properly supported. While much of the focus is centered on prevention and addressing needs of the victim, we also know it is hard to be the accused. To be the subject of an investigation and waiting for a final determination is a scary and stressful proposition. Consequently, it is imperative that all students and employees know that each one of them has the opportunity to receive information, assistance, protection, and have the right to be heard. I strongly encourage students and staff to say something if he/she or anyone he/she knows has been the subject of discrimination. The only way to impact change is to speak up and stand up for what’s just, and that is equity and inclusion for all within our community. In sum, the Governing Board, college leadership, and I are committed to due process and to ensuring Southwestern College is safe from sexual assault, discrimination, and harassment.
Kindred Murillo, Ed.D.