Students and faculty who are victims of crime now have new means of confidentially and safely reporting it online, thanks to a new link on UMD’s website. The link, “Reporting an Incident,” was created in an effort to make UMD a more inclusive campus. On the website, students, employees and faculty can find detailed information on how to file a report online and what to expect after they file.
Lisa Erwin, vice chancellor of Student Life, said the page was redesigned and added as a link to the homepage under quick links in order to make it easier for students.
“It (the website) is really clear,” Erwin said. “You know where to go.”
This newly laid out website aligns with the university’s goal two of the Strategic Plan, which is to create a positive and inclusive campus climate for all by advancing equity, diversity, and social justice.
Bilin Tsai, co-chair of the Campus Change Team, explained that they have heard several times from students that they don’t know how to report.
“The website used to be just text. There were no boxes to draw your attention to how to report an incident,” Tsai said.
Tsai also explained that the formatting and clarity were their main goals in the new layout.
“We didn’t want people to have to search around. We wanted to make it very clear,” Tsai said.
The website states that people should report incidents that undermine and damage a safe, respectful and diverse environment. It then gives examples of incidents worth reporting, how to file the actual report, and what happens after it is filed.
Incidents can be reported both by victims and witnesses, and those who report have the option of remaining anonymous. It also provides resources for students, faculty and staff who would not like to report an incident, but who would like to talk to somebody.
Tsai said she has heard several times from students who have reported an incident but had nothing happen afterward.
“We want to be accountable,” Tsai said. “We have learned that a campus needs to respond in a way that is more clear and responsible.”
Susana Pelayo-Woodward, director of the Multicultural Center and co-chair of the Campus Change Team, agreed with Tsai.
“If we don’t have a welcoming environment we will not have new students,” Woodward said.
Come the end of October, all of UMD faculty will be invited to take a campus climate survey. Students will be able to take the survey spring semester.
“With these surveys we will be able to better analyze the data,” Woodward said. “We want to move the actions forward.”
Similar surveys were given out to the campus community in 2002, 2009 and 2010. Woodward hopes to get a better response in these upcoming surveys.
BY SHANNON KINLEY firstname.lastname@example.org