I recently interviewed Ken Miller, Director of Campus Safety, regarding general policy and preparedness at Rollins College. Although we mostly talked about gun-related safety and policy, toward the end of our conversation, I asked him, if he were to have complete autonomy over all the policy stuff here at Rollins, what would be one thing that he would change about the campus that would effectively make it safer? What would be the bureaucratic tape he would eliminate or direct policies he would change? What would make his job easier?
His answer surprised me, as he completely switched gears and changed the subject, not as a diversion but to honestly talk about what he was passionate about: sexual safety at Rollins. This is what he had to say in response to my question:
KM: “In the last four years, especially in the last two, we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on Title IX and Clery Compliance, educating about sex crimes and sexual-related crimes. Our numbers were up last year—our numbers are going to be up this year. I don’t think it’s because there’s a “crime wave” this year at Rollins. I think, because of the education we’ve done, folks are more comfortable coming forward or seeking help or reaching out, which is a good thing. It’s not good for the numbers, because it looks like more crime is being committed than the past, but what it actually means is that more people have resources to communicate these sort of things are happening than they did before, which is crucial to then confront the issue.
I would love to move the needle onto sex offenses on our campus. Not to stereotype men and women, but statistically, I’d want to tackle how men respect a woman’s wishes in a relationship. Honoring someone when they say “no.” At any point. People have the right to say “no” at any point.
I’d stress educating people on campus about sexual assault. It’s not the scary guy who jumps out of the bushes with two teeth missing; it’s an acquaintance, it’s someone who sits next to you in class, it’s someone on an athletic team, it’s someone in a Greek organization. You might know him well and he might be a really great guy, but unfortunately when, again, stereotypically, alcohol is involved or illegal substances, their personalities change dramatically and wishes aren’t honored.
I need help informing men and women about the nature of consent—it’s a sort of nebulous issue when you’re between the age of 18, 19, 20 years old, but it’s an important issue. It can dramatically change your life if you’re not clear about it. I recently sat in on a student organization meeting just as a spectator—afterwards, I talked to some of them, juniors, seniors, asking what I could do to make a difference regarding that. What can I do to pass on information to incoming freshman to reduce their chance of being a victim and to help educate men so that they honor those requests and so on. That, to me, is our biggest issue.
Whether it’s SGA, whether it’s fraternity/sorority life, whether it’s athletics, any other organization that would like to help us and partner with us and help educate folks and reduce those numbers, I think is a great thing. It’s a challenging thing. Whether it’s by standard intervention, whether it’s simple education, whether it’s leadership from students to other students… it’s a process for the entire four years, from orientation all the way through RCC courses, through what student leaders share and get involved with, through graduation.”
In light of the recent Feb. 23 sexual assault on campus, Ken’s words serve as a cautionary reminder of how unfortunate of a reality these types of events can be for college students.