by Micah Wilkins, Editor-in-Chief
Ew Quimbaya-Winship is a little uncomfortable about focusing on himself when he talks about the work that he does. Quimbaya-Winship, or EW as he is known to the community, is the Director of the RISE project. His work is centered around preventing sexual violence on campus. But, he insists, he is not the only person at Warren Wilson to be actively working against these things.
“Violence prevention and crisis response is always a community effort,” EW said. “At this time, I’m the one who gets paid to do this work at Warren Wilson, but the efforts of too many great people (who go unnamed and unnoticed) do this work with great passion every day.”
EW has been here for just a short time, but since his arrival in 2011, he has worn many hats, each with their individual responsibilities. He is the Director of RISE, the supervisor of RISE crew and the supervisor of EMPOWER crew. Since his arrival he has also taken on the responsibilities for Title IX compliance. Both he and Director of Academic Support Services Lyn O’Hare are the Title IX Coordinators, ensuring that the school is adhering to laws which protect students from gender discrimination at educational institutions. And finally, last year EW helped the school update its Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Updating this policy, now entitled The Sexual Misconduct, Interpersonal and Gender Violence Policy, was a community effort, according to EW, involving students in Caucus and in classes, faculty, the RISE crew and others.
According to Steph Cheung, who was on RISE when EW arrived, the policy has been expanded, and now includes elements like detailed definitions of stalking. The policy also now encompasses interpersonal relationship violence, which is a category that wasn’t included in the previous policy.
When RISE crew member Nina Montgomery attended a conference in the fall, she met with other college students and looked over their school sexual misconduct policies and realized that Warren Wilson’s policy is much more comprehensive than the policies of other schools.
“Our policy is one of the best in the country,” Montgomery said. “I think that the legal stuff that EW has done has changed the school. And when it comes to the crew, EW seems to have a vision of RISE that’s not all glitter and unicorns.”
EW has also acted as the main person to report incidents on campus. One issue on some other college campuses, according to Montgomery, is that instances of sexual assault are not being reported to a single person, but rather to different areas of the administration. EW’s diligence in following the Title IX requirements has ensured that there are physical reports, all in one place, to ensure an effective reporting process.
Next month, EW will be leaving Warren Wilson to take up a similar position at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, acting as their Deputy Title IX Officer and Student Complaint Coordinator.
“He has a really great opportunity at Chapel Hill,” Montgomery said. “It’s not something that he could really miss out on.”
After EW leaves, it is still uncertain who will take up the role as the temporary Director of RISE. However, the crew wants there to be some point-person on campus, to report incidents and handle situations that crew members are not yet trained to address.
“We want students to have a person to report to who has training and a lot of experience,
reporting being the biggest thing that the RISE coordinator does,” Montgomery said.
Despite the coming departure of this important figure on campus, Cheung, like EW, also believes that preventing sexual assault is not up to just one person, but rather is a community effort.
“I think it is important to know that though EW is leaving, there are still community members here who are dedicated to working around issues of sexual consent, sexual violence, relationship violence and healthy relationships,” Cheung said. “Rather than focus on EW as an individual, or a face for the issues RISE deals with, we can instead only move forward, and we should now focus on how we as a community can work together to address the violence that exists here at Warren Wilson College.”