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Special Alert—Reports of Sexual Misconduct

Nov. 19, 2014

To: The Oberlin College Community From: Marjorie Burton, Director of Safety and Security Date: November 18, 2014

A report of sexual misconduct that occurred in early May of 2014 has been shared by a College administrator with the office of Safety and Security.   The sexual assault was reported to have occurred around the absence of consent while both students were present in an apartment off campus.  The report has been shared with the Oberlin Police Department.
        An additional report of by a student unwilling to be identified alleged sexual misconduct occurred in a residential hall  this semester related to incapacitation from drinking alcohol and inability of the student affected to give consent.

While not all crimes can be prevented, and the below advice may not be specific for these incidents, please be reminded to take special care for your own safety and for the safety of others, and to be well-acquainted with the requirements of Oberlin’s student conduct policies, including the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Additional recommendations include:

• Make a plan to attend and leave social functions with responsible and trusted friends who share your own values and will not change their plans once in attendance. Be vigilant and use your common sense in being aware that alcohol can make a situation go downhill quickly. As support for your community, report situations that pose a risk for persons present. • Be aware that alcohol and drugs may compromise one’s ability to recognize whether another person is incapacitated or otherwise unable to provide effective consent. If someone appears to be incapacitated, do not attempt sexual contact with that person. Consent is always required. If you plan to consume alcohol to the point where your judgment about someone else’s ability to consent may be compromised, ask friends to remain with you so that you to not engage in sexual misconduct. • Do not use drugs or alcohol to loosen another’s inhibitions or as an excuse to rationalize your own abusive behavior toward someone else later. Voluntary intoxication is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior under the law or under College regulations. Administering drugs to another by any means, including deception, is a felony crime including the penalty of mandatory prison time. • As a bystander, be ready to intervene when it is safe to do so. Observe how others are acting or interacting, and decide if you have a responsibility to provide a safe form of assistance, including reporting concerning behavior to Safety and Security. If you see someone that might be in a bad situation or you just want to check in with them, DO! As a support for your community, report situations that may pose a risk for persons present. • Seek assistance when needed--The College Medical Amnesty Policy allows a student at medical risk to seek medical attention for oneself or another for intoxication or overdose without formal College sanction for illegal use or possession of alcohol or other drugs when College policies have been violated in conjunction with intoxication or overdose. • When at social functions, do not return to a drink left unattended; do not drink from a community container such as a punch bowl, or accept drinks from individuals you have just met or do not know well. Make a plan to attend and leave social functions with responsible and trusted friends who share your own values and will not change their plans once in attendance.

Seek assistance from the Oberlin Police if there is an emergency: Dial 9-1-1, or dial directly 440-774-1061.

On campus, Safety and Security can be contacted at 440-775-8911. Contact Safety and Security for a safety escort if you need assistance leaving a social function by calling (440) 775-8444 or Ext. 58444 from an on campus phone. RideLine transportation is available 9 pm to 2 am during the semester by calling 440-775-RIDE.

Oberlin College Safety and Security urges anyone who believes they have experienced sexual assault to immediately contact local law enforcement. Dial 9-1-1, or dial Oberlin Police directly at 440-774-1061.

Persons who have experienced any form of sexual misconduct are encouraged to seek support. Information may be obtained from the Office of Equity Concerns / Title IX Coordinator at (440) 775-8410, or through the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center at 1-800-888-6161.