Title IX expands outreach efforts amid recent assaults

Within days of one another, two instances of sexual assault were reported on campus as required by the Cleary Act. Both occurred within first-year residence halls, and one instance involved a party not affiliated with the College and was reported to Winter Park Police Department.

The Winter Park Police Department and Rollins’ Office of Title IX are currently investigating the assault that occurred in Ward Hall on Oct. 22. Due to the case’s open status, the department was unable to provide a copy of the police report to The Sandspur without heavy redactions.

In 2018, 36 incidents of behavior prohibited under Title IX policy were reported in Rollins’ Annual Saftey and Fire Saftey Report, including cases of rape, fondling, dating violence, and stalking. Exactly 14 of those instances were categorized as rape, and seven were categorized as fondling. 

Campus-wide emails were sent in compliance with the Clery Act once the college was notified of the events and appropriate resources were provided to the individuals involved. 

Currently, Rollins’ Office of Title IX is in a transitional period; the office was relocated off-campus, and a new director and violence prevention specialist were recently hired. These changes come at a time when a greater cultural shift is occurring in response to the #MeToo movement, which has inspired survivors to speak up and advocate for themselves.

Sarah Laake, director of the Office of Title IX, said current prevention measures at the college include online modules on violence prevention, mandatory information sessions during orientation week, and tabling events. The Office of Title IX also offers class visits, student leader training, faculty and staff training, and a variety of other educational programs as additional resources. 

“We’re trying to reach people in different ways, even if they are not willing to come to a workshop or participate in a tabling activity or engage in a social media post,” said Laake.

Meredith Ewen (‘19), a recent Rollins alumna and new violence prevention specialist at the Office of Title IX, is working to increase connections with other offices on campus to provide resources for people to learn about Title IX in a safe and comfortable environment.

“A lot of students are talking about [Title IX] more now, and so the campus culture is blossoming. That means you have a lot of students who are confused about it, you have a lot of students who are feeling like they can actually report things happening, and you have a lot of students who feel like their voices are finally being heard,” said Ewen.

Ewen aims to make violence prevention on campus more robust through partnerships with various Rollins organizations as well as through diversifying the types of resources available. 

She hopes to create more opportunities for embodied learning, in which students can directly participate in active bystander intervention, healthy communication, and employ other tools necessary to violence prevention, all while in a safe and education-focused space. 

Ewen invites students interested involved in violence prevention to email her personally at mewen@rolling.edu with ideas to improve Rollins. 

The Office of Title IX is working to create a peer education group for violence prevention, Ewen is working on several experimental resources and programs, and an Instagram account started by Ewen this semester can be found at 

@RollinsViolencePrevention for programming updates, educational materials, and other resources.

Currently, the Office of Title IX is located at 400 W. Fairbanks (Suite E) and is scheduled to relocate to the current office of the Center for Career and Life Planning when Kathleen W. Rollins Hall opens in the spring. 

More information on Title IX at Rollins and survivor resources and support can be found at www.rollins.edu/sexual-misconduct/.

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