Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,
Truth is truth, no matter if it resides in the light or in the darkness. As a community—one committed to creating an environment in which all students are safe and experience the full benefits of our College’s membership—we have a special responsibility to bring this truth into the light.
As such, I believe that we—and all of higher education—must do more to protect one another when it comes to sexual violence and harassment on our college campuses. Today, I am asking that we continue to dedicate ourselves to this important work and to bring it into the light.
Earlier this year, Gettysburg College became one of 37 institutions to receive the It’s On Us PA Grant, which provides $30,000 to be used through May 2022 to increase educational efforts on campus for awareness and prevention programming. The grant will also provide four additional Gettysburg staff members with training on facilitating restorative conferencing. In addition, the grant will allow the College to develop more resources to reduce barriers to reporting and to allow for those who have experienced sexual misconduct to more effectively navigate resources on campus; to fund new initiatives; and to launch an “It’s On Us” awareness campaign during the 2021-22 academic year.
This is the second time Gettysburg College has received this selective Pennsylvania grant. The award given in the 2016-17 academic year was used for campus-wide training for students and employees. This included RAD self-defense training, as well as trauma-informed training as part of our Title IX, Clery, and workplace harassment education for all employees.
Also, earlier this year, I commissioned the College’s first Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Task Force. This task force is working on providing institutional recommendations for how we might better address the problems of sexual violence and harassment. I ask all members of the community to share your voice and ideas with the Task Force. All comments and feedback can be anonymous. Please submit a Task Force Comment Form.
Opportunities to Get Involved
In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the College is offering a variety of programs and opportunities both on campus and virtually. I encourage you participate in these Gettysburg College events.
- Resource Panel, today at 4 p.m.: Representatives from Adams County Sexual Assault Services, the Adams County Victim Witness, Safe Home, PCAR Legal Assistance Program, and our on-campus Counseling Services and Health Services will provide an overview of their services relating to sexual misconduct, dating violence, and domestic violence. They will also take questions from participants and share how to readily access their services. Link to join:https://gettysburg.zoom.us/j/93391248559
- Take Back The Night Week, April 26-29:
- No-Yes: Katie Koestner’s story of Speaking Up and Speaking Out, April 26 at 7:30 p.m.: Katie Koestner will present her personal story of her campus rape at William & Mary in 1990. Katie serves as the Executive Director of the Take Back The Night Foundation. The College will stream her presentation on Stine Lake (CUB Ballroom is the rain location) for those who wish to come together, as well as for those who are studying remotely—or who may not feel comfortable watching in their own location.
- Day of Healing, April 27: We will host various events throughout the day that focus on healing for those who have experienced trauma. Visit engageGettysburg for more details.
- Denim Day, April 28: I encourage all Gettysburg students, faculty, and staff to show your support for the survivors of sexual violence by wearing jeans on Denim Day. What started as a local campaign to bring awareness to the misconceptions that surround sexual violence is now a 22-year movement. To learn more about this global event, please visit www.denimdayinfo.org.
- Take Back The Night, April 29 at 6 p.m.: Starting at Memorial Tent 8, participants will receive an overview and history of Take Back The Night, prior to the Take Back The Night March throughout campus. The march will end at the Silverstein Memorial, where there will be a survivor speak out and candle vigil for those who have lost their lives due to sexual and relationship violence.
As a reminder, Gettysburg College has various resources on campus and in the local community. On-campus resources include Counseling Services, Health Services, and Pastoral Counseling, all of which provide completely confidential support. Anything that is shared with these resources will not be shared with the College without consent.
In addition, confidential off-campus resources include Adams County Sexual Assault Services (1-888-772-7227), Safe Home (717-632-0007), Adams County Victim Witness Assistance Program (717-337-9844), and the Sexual Violence Legal Assistance Project (717-901-6784).
If you experience sexual misconduct at any time and want to report your experience to the College, you can do so by directly contacting the Department of Public Safety or the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX. Reports can also be made online through the College’s Report a Concern webpage, where there are options for anonymous reporting or for the reporting party to include their name in the report. Once the report is received by the College, the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX will reach out to the affected party to provide information about resources and procedural options available to them.
I would like to offer a special thank you to Amanda Blaugher, the College’s Title IX Director; Prof. Anne Douds, Chair of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Task Force; and our Women’s Center Program Coordinators for their thoughtful and dedicated work in this essential area. I also want to express my gratitude to the many students, faculty, and staff who continue to raise these important issues to the forefront.
I truly believe, with a commitment across our entire community, that we can continue to improve our efforts to prevent sexual violence on our Gettysburg campus. Change begins with each of us.