California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    2016 Annual Report Reclassifies Two Counts of Sexual Assault

    Three instances of rape, defined as penetration without consent, were reported in the California Lutheran University 2016 Annual Security and Fire Life Safety Report, which includes security and crime statistics for the 2013 – 2015 calendar years. Last week, two of the three instances were reclassified into sexual offense: fondling, which is defined as touching body parts without consent.

    Title IX Coordinator and Director of Athletic Affairs Jim McHugh said this is the first year the report divided sexual offenses into the categories of rape, fondling, incest and statutory, and there was a “misunderstanding of the definition.”

    After the reports were updated, McHugh said in an email interview, “Prior to providing Campus Safety with the information I did not read carefully enough the Clery definitions for the categories in the report and mistakenly lumped the three reported instances into the Sexual Assault – Rape category.  Upon review of the definitions and the reports, the reclassification was made by me.”

    The Clery Act requires universities to annually publish a report by Oct. 1 with three years of crime statistics and policy statements. For this report, David Hilke, director of campus safety, said in an email interview that classification of reported sexual assault instances is based upon details from the reporting party, crime definitions and the Clery Act.

    The investigations regarding these instances are complete, although they may or may not have happened, McHugh said in an email interview. The document lists instances reported, not  instances confirmed.

    McHugh said in an email interview that he believes there are things going on that people do not report, and that having an increased number of sexual assault reports could mean awareness is improving. He also said students should not fear punishment for something such as underage drinking when reporting a sexual offense.

    Title IX investigations begin with reports from many different areas, including faculty members and resident assistants, McHugh said in an email interview. The investigators then talk to the reporting party and see what the individual wants to do.

    “We need to find out – are you being discriminated against? Is this something that you want to act upon? Is this affecting your educational environment here? If it’s not, then what am I investigating?” McHugh said in an email interview.

    McHugh said in an email interview that Cal Lutheran has a group of trained Title IX investigators, a majority of whom work in Residence Life and Student Conduct.

    Hilke also said in an email interview that Campus Safety has a variety of roles in sexual assault investigations, including helping to file police reports per the reporting party’s wishes.

    According to Cal Lutheran Title IX informational page, peer advisors, resident assistants and all faculty and staff members excluding counseling services and pastors are mandatory reporters. Although available for confidencial consultation, health services must report to law enfocement, not the university, when treating for physical injuries.

    Dr. Ginny Maril, the counseling services director, said in an email interview, “Student Counseling Services is one of the few places on campus where staff are not mandated Title IX reporters.  The work we do at Student Counseling Services is confidential.  That means if a student discloses a sexual assault to us, we do not report that to anyone else.”

    Another Title IX resource for students is the new Wellness Resource Center, with an office in the Student Union added this fall. The Wellness Resource Center interns are trained in providing Title IX information to students.  Coordinator for Recreational Sports and Wellness Brett Billet said the office also has  easy access to help students connect to other professional resources.

    Billet said the three main functions of the Wellness Resource Center are to be a resource for students, a safe space and to conduct “small-scale” programming. The Wellness Resource Center has also held a “box program” this semester about consent and sexual assault which was presented to freshmen seminar classes. He said wellness involves Title IX, Peer Prevention, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Sexual Health, Mental/Emotional Health, Physical Health, and Social Health.

    Cal Lutheran aims to prevent sexual assault through activities such as Title IX programming by resident assistants, new student orientation and mandatory online training, McHugh said in an email interview.

    Information can also be found in the California Lutheran University Sexual Violence Resource packet, which can be found at

    Dakota Allen
    Staff Writer