CampusSave aims to promote safety at BC

Bellevue College is rolling out a new campus safety training module to students and staff as a part of the CampusSave initiative. CampusSave is a program that falls under Title IX, which is about gender equality and gender discrimination.

Rachel Wellman, the coordinator for BC’s office of equity and pluralism deals with student conflicts and issues that pertain to Title IX policies. Title IX mainly deals with the type of response to a student issue, while emergency management and crime prevention are covered in the Cleary Act. The statutes in the Cleary Act were previously the domains of BC’s public safety office.

Wellman said that CampusSave deals with the overlap between Title IX and Cleary, which means that there is increased communication between the public safety and equity and pluralism offices. “The new thing is coordination,” said Wellman.

She said that in addition to the changes for administrators, there are new obligations for faculty and students like obligatory safety training. Wellman emphasized that a big part of CampusSave is the handling of sexual assault, “Intimate partner violence policies need to have provisions for victims’ rights,” said Wellman.

“At a college, the main thing is looking to see if policy is violated […] BC is not here to prove guilt, just look at facts.” Student issues are handled informally, and Wellman mentioned that the victim usually gets to direct the process, which is less common in cases that are reported to local law enforcement.

CampusSave policy includes provisions to clearly articulate that a student isn’t required to file a police report, but Wellman added that if a student chooses to do so, they would be aided. Wellman said that the purpose of the program is not to enact punishment or place blame, but to help direct people onto the right path.

Wellman also mentioned that an issue under Title IX doesn’t have to be between two students, or even occur on campus, but just has to impact a student academically. She said, “Title IX helps students perform at school.”

Campus clarity online training will be rolled out to all colleges and community colleges in the state, and Wellman noted that prevention education is easier in a 4-year college with a venue to reach people. She hopes that in the future, the online program will be supplemented and integrated with personal interventions that allow it to have more of an impact.

“We should be teaching each other how to think about the world differently. Let’s move forward together,” Wellman said.

“CampusSave is a self-paced online learning program,” said Ata Karim, BC’s vice president of Student Affairs.

Karim said that BC’s CampusSave program is part of the “Think About It” series, specifically the Think About It: Community College program. According to Karim, it should take no more than 90 minutes from start to finish and could be completed in one sitting.

Karim described the program as self-paced, interactive and modular, designed to help students with their issues and create campus safety. Specifically, a culture built around a “nonviolent, nonsexual harassment mindset.”

Students will get an email invitation to begin the training around the end of the week of Feb. 22. Karim anticipates a high rate of participation. The program is part of BC’s ongoing initiative to improve campus safety. Karim’s expectation is that all current and future students enrolled at BC will complete the training.

Upon completion of the program, students will receive a printable certificate of completion. Until the program is completed, regular reminders will be sent to the student’s email address.

The program addresses the topics of sexual safety and healthy relationships. Its purpose is to aid students’ ability in recognizing harmful situations and teaching them to prevent or how to intervene.

Karim has “always believed that Bellevue College should do more than the minimum,” and wants to go beyond just the online training. “We would like this to become an issue of managing campus climate,” said Karim.

BC students will receive the community college program, while universities will undergo the program specialized for university students. Karim said that the underlying content is the same, but that the specific module “is geared toward the community college experience.”

Overall, Karim said he’s “excited about the opportunity to create other educational opportunities that allow students to participate in a campus culture of safety. That’ll go a long way towards Bellevue College being a college that cares.”