As we reflect on the 2019-2020 academic year, the New Hampshire Campus Consortium Against Sexual and Interpersonal Violence would like to acknowledge the many challenges and rapid changes our students and communities are facing in the second half of the year. The spring semester included the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of the Department of Education’s new Title IX Regulations, and rising tension amid protests organized against racial violence and injustice. These events add to the stress and anxiety experienced by our students and campus communities—especially people with lived experience of sexual violence, relationship abuse, and racial oppression—and require thoughtful, proactive responses from campus officials.
The mission of the Consortium is to provide a forum where post-secondary institutions and community partners supporting the Consortium’s values can discuss, develop, and implement prevention and response strategies to end sexual and interpersonal violence on New Hampshire’s campuses. We recognize that sexual, domestic, and racial violence are rooted in oppression and that creating safe campuses means addressing complex and intertwined forms of oppression and discrimination. In this challenging time, as campuses adjust to the distanced nature of our communities, continue to digest the new Title IX regulations, and listen and respond to community members’ lived experience of violence and discrimination, it is more important now than ever to reaffirm to our members and their respective campuses who we are and what our mission is. We remain committed to pursuing campuses that are safe, equitable, and free of harassment and violence. We continue to encourage each of our member campuses to:
- renew their commitment to their non-discrimination statement;
- educate their students on the topics of healthy relationships, consent, and active bystander behaviors;
- maintain and enhance their efforts to provide support to students who have been harmed by sexual and relationship violence and crimes motivated by hate and bias; and
- address all reported violations of their sexual misconduct and other conduct policies.
Even though many campus operations have been temporarily curtailed, members of the Consortium are working together to analyze the new Title IX regulations and identify areas of best practice that we can implement within this framework. As we engage in this process, we will inform our work with the broader context of preserving civil rights for all students. Our institutions of higher education across the state differ greatly: both public and private institutions, in urban to rural settings, serving student bodies of varying sizes and demographics. However, we are united in the belief that college students should have access to their education in an environment that is safe and free from harassment and discrimination.
Disseminated to members on June 12th, 2020