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Baldwin Wallace announces Campus Safety Task Force

Baldwin Wallace University is establishing a new Campus Safety Task Force to continue to strengthen and improve campus safety policies and processes.

"BW cares and is deeply committed to the safety of each member of our campus community," said President Bob Helmer. "Our goal is that each and every student feels safe and supported on our campus and many have affirmed that they do. However, if the experience of just one falls short, then we have work to do."

Seeking productive dialogue

At a Wednesday, January 17 campus forum, called by the University to explore campus safety with the BW community, President Helmer announced the formation of the diverse new team to review policies and processes, and to make recommendations, starting with the suggestions already brought forward by a student group. The new task force will include students, faculty, staff and external experts.

The forum gave about 175 students, alumni, faculty and staff the opportunity to learn about University processes and resources that address claims of sexual misconduct and other campus safety issues. The forum moderator posed written questions, which were provided in advance of the forum by the campus community, for response by a panel of University leaders including the President and Title IX Coordinator. Those in attendance were also given the time to ask direct questions of the panel.

"This important conversation will not end tonight," said President Helmer. "Our aim is to foster a strong, constructive dialogue that deepens our understanding of issues, seeks out the best possible solutions, and builds mutual trust."

Taking proactive measures

While the national conversation around sexual misconduct continues to grow, BW has already implemented a series of measures to strengthen campus safety around the issue of sexual misconduct in recent years including, 18-months ago, the adoption of new policies and procedures aimed at strengthening reporting and response.

In addition to services available through BW's own Counseling Services and Health Services, BW is two years into a partnership with Cleveland Rape Crisis Center which provides confidential on-campus support that augments what is already available at BW.

In recent years, the University has organized a variety of new programs and activities aimed at educating and raising awareness on campus. Training for students, faculty and staff on sexual misconduct, consent and bystander response are also part of BW's updated prevention and response initiatives.

Community responsibility

"One of the hallmarks of BW is our strong sense of community and that includes the way we work together for the betterment of all," noted President Helmer. "Each one of us has a voice, a responsibility and a role to play to ensure campus safety. I have every confidence that positive outcomes will result as we come together in a thoughtful, intentional collaboration."

BW expects recommendations from the new task force by the end of the spring semester.

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