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Campus safety on tap at JDCC

Story by Nicole Burns

Talks aim to educate students

“We want students to know what a healthy relationship looks like,” said Dr. Marilyn Nicholson of Jefferson Davis Community College.

Nicholson, along with Randall Barnett, Jeffrey Faust, Dean David Jones, Cornelia Miller, Maurice Moore and Robin Sessions, will lead efforts to educate the student body on how to be safe, not just on campus, but also in life.

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month at college campuses all over the country. JDCC will participate with a series of educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

“There are certain areas of training we are required to do through the Clery Act. We are required to raise awareness about consent, what it is, what it looks like, and when consent has been given,” said Nicholson.

The Clery Act, formerly the Campus Security Act, is a federal law requiring colleges and universities to disclose campus security information. It’s named in memory of Jeanne Clery who was murdered and sexually assaulted in 1986 at Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University. The university failed to inform students about violent crimes reported on campus.

“I think it’s one of the most important things that this whole training is doing because if the line of consent is blurry, then that’s when you get issues that arise,” said Nicholson. Issues like the case involving former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner who was just released from jail after serving three months for raping an unconscious woman. Turner argued consent was given, while prosecutors released evidence that brought a unanimous guilty verdict. The case drew national attention after a judge handed down a lenient sentence.

JDCC Financial Aid Director Vanessa Kyles worked with school leaders to write policies to protect students. She said Brewton and Atmore campuses are safe for students, and thanks to the Clery Act, JDCC and every college and university must make crime statistic available to the public.

“The new statistics will come out on October 1st for the college and it’s a retroactive look over the last year. The last three years are available on the JDCC website so if you wanted to go and look, you could. Just click the campus safety link,” said Kyles.

Counselors with the Lighthouse Domestic Violence Center will conduct two seminars on violence against women while other public safety officials will weigh in on other safety issues. To find more on the events, visit jdcc.edu.

The schedule of events is as follows:

• Sept. 7: Dating/Domestic Violence and Stalking;

• Sept. 12: That’s Not Love;

• Sept. 14: Sexual Violence: Awareness, Prevention, and Response;

• Sept. 21: Emergency Preparedness; and

• Sept. 28-29: Fire Safety.