Campus, News

How CSULB combats sexual assault with Title IX and UPD

Every 68 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., according to the statistics presented by Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. In the hopes of reducing these numbers, Long Beach State offers resources to all students and employees.

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, female students and staff learn self-defense techniques through the University Police Department’s program, Rape Aggression Defense.

“A lot of people that take the class have never defended themselves before,” said Lt. Carol Almaguer. “I always say a real life situation shouldn’t be the first time that you do something. It should be in a classroom. It should be in a controlled environment.”

RAD is a four-session safety program led by Allyson Joy, campus emergency management and emergency coordinator at CSULB, that educates and trains women to defend themselves in dangerous situations.

The instructors introduce stress during training to simulate real life crises which teach the participants how to think and act under pressure, especially since one has to rely solely on the knowledge they have in this kind of situation, Almaguer said.

UPD has hosted RAD once every semester for about 20 years, according to Joy. The program costs $10 for CSULB students, faculty, staff and alumni and $20 for non-affiliates. Sessions this semester started April 19 and the last session will be Friday, April 28.

Apart from the UPD, the university also has Title IX at the Beach, which works alongside the Office of Equity & Diversity in aiding students, faculty and staff who are experiencing sexual misconduct.

Sexual assault, stalking, dating/domestic violence, rape and sexual exploitation are all under sexual misconduct.

Title IX is a federal law that protects male and female students and employees from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. This requires schools to establish a procedure for complaint filing and provide assistance to the complainant.

Reaching out to Title IX does not automatically trigger an investigation as the program also assists in academic supportive measures. Such measures include connecting the student or employee with the academic department if they need further understanding from their professor or employer, said Larisa Hamada, the Title IX Coordinator at CSULB.

A student who may experience sexual misconduct more than likely will talk to another student to get help or information than they would to meet with people like ourselves in an office,” Hamada said.

The reality that a student would rather choose to seek advice from a fellow student drove the program to focus on training student organizations to spread awareness and educate them to be trauma-informed.

The program also promotes campus confidential advocates at the university who assist with safety and crisis prevention. Advocates serve the survivors in several ways such as obtaining restraining orders, safety planning and accompaniment to medical appointments, police interviews, legal meetings or court.

Advocates are separate from Title IX, however, they collaborate to support students and staff. Title IX is mainly in charge of the investigation process, while advocates offer support to the survivors. CSULB currently has two campus advocates, according to Hamada, and they are located at the Student Health Services.

A student or staff can refuse to receive support from the program. If done so, the report will be terminated.

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