by Mariah Parker, Multimedia Editor
In April, Joe Biden, as head of the US Department of Educations Office of Civil Rights (OCR), issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges and schools across the country. The letter clarified specific ways that sexual violence should be addressed under Title IX, a 1972 gender-equity law governing educational institutions that receive federal funds.
Federal officials saw that procedures at a number of schools led some victims of sexual violence to feel revictimized. According to the “Dear Colleague” letter, colleges and universities must respond promptly and fairly to reports of sexual misconduct.
“A lot of schools right now aren’t in compliance and they’ve been fined heavily by the government,” Evan Cohen, senior RISE crew member said. “The most important thing is keeping our funding.”
The hotline number puts callers in touch with a cell phone that will be passed around by RISE advocates according to their on-call schedule. During the daytime, the hotline will be directed to the RISE office number.
“It streamlines the process and creates clear expectations for the advocates,” explains RISE advocate Jill Metcalfe. “If people need help, it’s a clearer and more direct way to find it.”
The full list of advocates and their contact information is available online and in the RISE crew office.
“We don’t want people to think they can’t contact their trusted advocates if they need to,” Cohen says. “We want to keep the intimacy in advocacy.”
Now, their biggest concern is raising awareness about the new hotline. Cohen and Metcalfe have posted flyers in all the dorms and the RISE crew issued an all-l email to get the word out about the new resource.
The RISE crisis hotline may be reached at (828)337-3264. Stop by the RISE Project office for more information.