The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 10, 2014

Indian Hills proactive in fight against sexual abuse


The first step, Bowser said, is preventing sexual abuse on campus in the first place. Students are notified before classes even begin about resources that are available and the campus' safety information. This year, this information will also be part of the mandatory student orientation. The model program will include informing the new students of their rights on campus and how the SaVE Act affects them personally. Bowser stresses that this is already being done, but it will now be part of the mandatory orientation.

There are also more than 100 security cameras on campus, but that technology is coupled with some good, old-fashioned reporting skills.

"The best eyes and ears are still our students and faculty themselves," Bowser said. "They know they can call the security number. It really does take a village — we're all the eyes and ears."

Perhaps most importantly, Indian Hills officials meet once a week for a threat assessment. Bowser says that directors of each department talk about potential threats on campus, often based on reports given by students, teachers and faculty, and make plans on how to handle them. This may mean talking to a student individually or reviewing policy on specific situations.

Jackie Greenfield, director of student health and wellness at Indian Hills, says one important piece of the puzzle is providing as much information about preventing sexual abuse as possible.

"We do a program here once or twice a year with nationally recognized speakers. They talk about what true assault is and advocacy," she explained. "SaVE makes us, and other schools across the country, accountable. It's about education and prevention."

The second part of the plan is to handle situations as they arise. When assault is reported on campus, it is reported to the Ottumwa Police Department. Greenfield says that health and wellness services, including counseling, are available.

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