By Shane Kellum
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College has recently begun updating its sexual harassment policies online in an effort to make students more aware, college officials said.
“The only thing we’re trying to do now is spread the word,” said Jacqueline Tenuto, assistant dean for student development and support and Title IX coordinator at CCC. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. “We’re updating our posters, our information campaign, we’re also going to change some things on the website.”
According to the 2016 Campus Safety and Security Report, the college had only one account of a sex offense on its Blackwood, Camden and Cherry Hill campuses from 2013 to 2015.
Tenuto gave credit for the low statistic to the college’s public safety officers. “A lot of them are retired policemen … and they have years of police experience,” she said. “They’re very student oriented, and that’s what we want. You don’t want a mentality that it’s us against them … They try to come in as a neutral party to try to assist.”
Public safety officers at CCC offer a campus escort program to students. By contacting public safety from any of the college’s red or blue emergency call boxes or by calling the community center, a student can request that a public safety officer escort them to their desired location on campus, according to the college’s website.
Students at CCC also play an essential role in preventing sexual harassment, Tenuto noted. “I think more students … have the philosophy that if they see something, they say something,” she said. “Because we’ve trained our students to be more observant, I do think they’re seeing more.”
The college also tackles the issue at an executive level, Tenuto added. “Anything that is reported to us, whether it’s little or big, we investigate, so there’s no time lapses. As soon as something is reported, we act on it immediately,” she stated.
James Canonica, executive dean for student development and support, said the college follows a procedure when faced with an incident of sexual harassment. “If we get a report from a student about sexual harassment, we treat it as a Title IX violation. We contact public safety, they take a report, and it’s investigated,” he said.
He said the college on Feb. 14 conducted an online seminar about how to report sexual harassment. “It was a free webinar from Everfi, the agency that provides Title IX training for staff as well as students.” Everfi provides schools across the country with information and prevention tactics on such issues as drug use and sexual assault.
Everfi will soon email students a survey about sexual harassment, Canonica said.