Last September, a new position was created within Stony Brook University’s Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action. Raúl M. Sánchez was appointed as senior director for Title IX and Risk Management in an effort to raise emphasis on issues related to Title IX, a federal statute that prohibits sexual discrimination in an educational setting.
“The university is very concerned about issues of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault of all kinds,” Sánchez said. “It is prepared to vigorously investigate and remedy whatever situation is found to exist, but it can do that only if it knows about it.”
Sánchez’s responsibilities involve processing and monitoring complaints filed in relation to Title IX violations. He is also responsible for spreading awareness about the university’s policy on pursuing alleged instances of sexual harassment or assault.
Sánchez took part in a panel on Tuesday, April 1, along with Wendy Murphy, who teaches a seminar titled “Sexual Violence Law” at New England School of Law. Murphy is a former prosecutor who represented victims of sex crimes and challenged colleges to strengthen their policies regarding Title IX.
Murphy said Stony Brook’s attitude on Title IX is unique in that not all other universities are as observant about the issue. “It is a very good thing that Stony Brook has a single office that handles all forms of discrimination,” Murphy said.
“The universities and colleges of the United States have always been concerned about discrimination issues,” Sánchez said. “How seriously they all investigate it is a different issue.”
Data found in the Clery Report, a mandated annual summary of campus crime, shows that the number of reported rapes on Stony Brook’s campus has increased from seven in 2010 to 17 in 2012. Sánchez strongly encourages the campus community to report any instance of harassment or assault to the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action or the police.
“We have got to a point where things are so bad, you are more likely to be raped and victimized if you go to college than if you don’t,” Murphy said. “You’re less likely to be attacked in the real world. What message does that send to girls?”