Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GUSA Calls for Focus on No-Contact Directives

The university’s recent consideration of a third-year meal plan requirement brought to light many concerns with on-campus dining — long lines, limited options and crowded dining halls among them.

Another concern related to requiring students to frequent the same dining establishment for another year at Georgetown was the university’s enforcement of Title IX no-contact directives, which prohibit individuals who are accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault from making direct contact with the survivors of their crimes.

The Georgetown University Police Department and the Office of Student Conduct have the ability to issue a no-contact directive under Title IX, but these restrictions can be difficult to enforce on Georgetown’s small campus.

“When you have areas that become necessary spots on campus, whether that be academic buildings, academic lounges, dining halls, etc., it creates a difficult situation in order to be able to enforce these orders, so it becomes incumbent upon that school or university in the context of its ability to expand and provide more options for its students to ensure that there are ample facilities to accommodate a no-contact directive,” Georgetown University Student Association President Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) said.

The no-contact directives serve to prevent the survivor from coming into both direct and indirect contact with the accused perpetrator.

“Seeing someone who has perpetrated a crime like that can be incredibly triggering for an individual — meaning they experience emotions related to the specific incident or the feelings that followed in the aftermath. This is an incredibly distressing and painful experience,” Health Education Services Staff Clinician and Sexual Assault Specialist Bridget Sherry Laizer wrote in an email. “The knowledge that someone is forbidden to contact you gives some peace of mind to a survivor, knowing that there will be real consequences that follow a violation of a no-contact directive.”

The no-contact directives are not limited to Georgetown’s campus and include all forms of communication.

“Normally the directive addresses initiated actions by students subject to the no-contact directive, such as stalking, phone calls, texting, email, etc.,” Georgetown University Police Department Chief of Police Jay Gruber wrote in an email. “In instances where students inadvertently run into each other, they are expected to maintain civility and keep their distance from each other.”

Universities and colleges across the country have been taking a second look at their Title IX policies after the Department of Education began its detailed Title IX investigations of over 75 colleges and universities this past year in order to ensure that the schools are complying under the law’s regulations.

Offices like Health Education Services work with survivors to ensure that they receive the necessary accommodations after their traumatic experience.

“We also let them know of accommodations that are available through university housing, academics, and other resources on campus,” Laizer wrote. “We work closely with all of these different offices to arrange for any accommodations a student might need.”

In the event that the accuser fails to comply with no-contact directives, the violation may be adjudicated with the Office of Student Conduct and could result in suspension or expulsion.

In addition, the Georgetown University Police Department also enforces District of Columbia Civil Protection Orders that students, faculty and staff have issued in the city. These civil protection orders are easily adjustable to the university environment.

“They can be easily modified and adjusted for your specific case. For example, the space between you and the accuser in classes could be reduced from 50 feet to seven feet. Instead of having absolutely no recourse, you can have it be adjustable to a university setting,” Sexual Assault Peer Educator Chandini Jha (COL ’16) said.

According to GUSA Vice President Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15), GUSA representatives have only discussed the no-contact directive with university administrators in the context of the proposed third-year meal plan mandate, but they plan to bring up the issue again in the future.

“It’s a really important part of any work that Georgetown does about sexual assault and it’s really at the forefront of all the discussions,” Jikaria said. “[The university needs to] make sure that they’re not putting any survivors of sexual assault in places where they’re in contact with the perpetrator. Any kind of hostile environment should be avoided in general.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *