By Elsie Boskamp and Sarah Kirkup
In 2012, there were 17 cases of rape on the Stony Brook University campus.
The following year, in July of 2013, the university hired Raúl M. Sánchez to serve as the senior director for the Title IX and Risk Management.
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, according to The United States Department of Justice website.
Sánchez is responsible for “developing and implementing a risk management program,” while overseeing the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action. He is also working full time on Title IX issues, according to a job description issued by the university.
According to Sánchez, the SUNY consent agreement says that all colleges are required to have a Title IX division on campus to deal with all acts of discrimination on the base of sex. “[There is] “more emphasis [on the program] because of the federal government,” he said.
Sánchez, a lawyer, has 13 years of administrative experience, including his former position as director of the Office for Equal Opportunity at Washington State University.
Since Stony Brook hired him, he has revised procedures in the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action and is in the process of fulfilling a training program through online courses.
Sánchez has been considering various courses about sexual assault from Workplace Answers, a company that provides colleges with online classes, and has conducted multiple student sessions with resident assistants to get student feedback.
“Students want more information regarding sexual assault,” Sánchez concluded from discussions with the resident assistants.
The online classes, which the university plans to offer in the fall, will be available to all students, faculty and staff members. It will satisfy the universities legal and moral obligations to its campus community.
Training programs will also involve educating people about the dangers of alcohol.
A majority of Title IX violations involve alcohol abuse, according to Sánchez. “Many young people have active social lives, and people take advantage of that,” he said.
In many cases, issues regarding student misconduct occur “behind closed doors,” Sánchez said. In these instances, investigations involve gathering as much information as possible from the people involved and any social media networks they used.
Depending on the specific incident, investigations are conducted by various campus offices and organizations. This includes the campus police and medical and psychological services.
Providing a proper infrastructure to “file complaints,” implementing consistent policies and communicating them accordingly are some of Sánchez’s main goals.
“This is a university that wants to protect its students,” Sánchez said.
In the future, Sánchez said he is interested in “possibly working with student government on some of these issues,” and continuing his work with Title IX employees.
“There were, and still are very capable people working on Title IX before I got here,” Sánchez said. “But, as far as I know, I’m the only person on campus who works full time, all the time on Title IX issues.”