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Sept. 29 Campus Conversation to focus on sexual misconduct on college campuses

Over the past two years, Ohio University has established a tradition of providing a safe environment where members of both the OHIO and local communities can engage in constructive dialogues on a variety of topics affecting college campuses and our nation. Dubbed “Campus Conversations,” that tradition continues Tuesday, Sept. 29, with “Campus Conversation: Taking Sexual Misconduct Seriously.”

Scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. in the Walter Hall Rotunda on OHIO’s Athens Campus, “Campus Conversation: Taking Sexual Misconduct Seriously” is being held in response to the screening of the film “The Hunting Ground” at the Athena Cinema in uptown Athens. The Athena Cinema will be hosting free screenings of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary that examines sexual assault on U.S. college campuses and the ways reports of assault have been handled by college administrators, on the following dates and times:

  • Monday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 4:30 and 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 24, at 4:30 and 7 p.m.

To ensure that those who attend the screenings are both supported and educated about OHIO’s efforts to combat sexual misconduct on its campuses, representatives from Ohio University will be present before each screening to share University and community resources regarding sexual misconduct as well as information about OHIO’s sexual misconduct policy. In addition, a short video produced by OHIO’s Division of Student Affairs will be shown. The video, featuring Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones, Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers, Survivor Advocacy Program Coordinator Delaney Anderson and Title IX Coordinator Inya Baiye, addresses how the University is prepared to support and protect students who have experienced sexual misconduct.

Immediately following each screening of “The Hunting Ground,” support staff from the University will be available in OHIO’s Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies offices at 31 S. Court St. for those who wish to speak to someone confidentially.

“We want all of our students and the entire community to know that if you experience sexual misconduct at Ohio University, we care and are here to help,” said Hall-Jones whose office is helping to coordinate the Sept. 29 Campus Conversation in conjunction with offices throughout the Athens Campus as well as individuals in the surrounding community.

The Sept. 29 Campus Conversation is designed to provide a safe environment where members of the OHIO and Athens communities may ask questions, raise concerns and educate themselves and others regarding sexual misconduct. 

During the event, several tables will be set up in the rotunda. Some tables will be labeled with a specific topic to be discussed while others will be labeled as “Open Tables” where the topics discussed will be generated by participants. Some of the table topics will include “Responding to Reports of Sexual Misconduct” and “Response to ‘The Hunting Ground’” as well as two tables for “Gender Expectations” – one for women and another for men. 

Each table will include at least one facilitator who will help guide and encourage a constructive dialogue based on provided guidelines and ground rules for these confidential conversations. (See sidebar)

OHIO’s Campus Conversations will continue throughout fall semester with future events dedicated to topics that include racial dynamics and inequality.

For more information about the Sept. 29 Campus Conversation, contact Megan Vogel, special assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs and director of resource administration, at vogelm@ohio.edu. Faculty and staff interested in serving as a facilitator at the event are also asked to contact Vogel.

Ground rules for Campus Conversations

Members of the Ohio University who have been organizing Campus Conversations on the Athens Campus have developed the following ground rules for the events:

Maintain confidentiality. Participants are asked not to identify by name individuals who share personal stories and comments during Campus Conversations.

Speak for yourself. Participants are asked to share their own stories and experiences.

Listen with respect and curiosity.

It is OK to pass and not share your own stories and experiences.

Participants are asked to not take photos at the event and to refrain from using cell phones.

Participants are asked to be aware of their personal feelings and to take a deep breath before responding to thoughts and comments that evoke feelings of defensiveness and anger.