By Christian A. Browne
CCC Journalism Program
The issue of sexual assault has arisen on campus.
Of 10 students interviewed this month, three claimed they had experienced sexual assault at Camden County College and seven claimed they had not. Also of those 10, six said they believed sexual assault was a problem at the college and four said they believed it was not.
Student Sarah (Bec) Beschler claimed to have experienced sexual assault at the college.
“There’s been basically stalking incidents that I have had at the college. There was one person who would stand out of my class, wait for me, then try to talk to me after repeatedly telling them to go away. One of the individuals attempted to kiss me twice and I pushed him away. There’s people in my group who have slapped my butt or touched my butt or touched my breast, which is obviously inappropriate,” said Beschler. “When you are a woman, you just deal with staring or random touches or catcalls because it’s just a part of normal life, so when someone does it now, it’s just like wow, that was uncomfortable but I just forget about it because it’s easier.”
The Campus Safety and Security Report 2017 of Camden County College lists one sex offense in 2016 on the Blackwood campus and one in 2015 on the Camden campus. The report does not include statistics for 2017.
Camden County College has a bill of rights for victims of sexual assault on campus. According to the bill, the college must treat any alleged incident of sexual assault very seriously and must thoroughly investigate any claim of sexual assault.
“I have been tempted to talk about the stalking incidents but I haven’t gone to public safety about anything, mostly because I often feel like the issues aren’t big enough to talk about but they really are,” said Beschler. “It’s just you feel uncomfortable going up to a man and telling someone what a man has done to you. I know that there are female public safety officers but it’s still difficult.”
Beschler said she knew other women who claimed they experienced sexual assault at the college but refused to identify them.
Assistant Dean for Student Development and Support Jacqueline Tenuto said the students who claimed they were sexually assaulted should tell a college official.
“Public safety and our college takes everything very seriously, so if someone had something to report, they should come immediately to public safety or to myself,” said Tenuto. “We have a process in place of how things are reported and if anyone has any doubt on the process, then that’s not good, because we do actually take everything very seriously.”
However, some said they believed sexual assault wasn’t an issue at the college.
“I haven’t heard of any problems so far,” said student Brian Richards. “I never thought that it was a problem.”