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Sunday, April 05

Brookdale Newsroom

Campus Community Talks Safety, Support

Student Life and Activities’ Spring Lecture Series continued on March 3 with a guest appearance by Annie Clark, a noted civil rights activist and co-founder of the the advocacy group End Rape On Campus (EROC). Speaking in the Student Life Center during college hour, Clark spoke with Brookdale students, faculty and administrators about the widespread persistence of sexual abuse, assault and rape on college campuses across the country.

“As advocates and administrators, we need to look for the barriers and gaps that exist, that prevent victims from getting the help and support they seek,” Clark said. “We need to fill in those gaps.”

While Brookdale, as a community college, does not face the same risks as a traditional university with on-campus housing, there are still opportunities to improve and make the college safer for students, Clark said. In the middle of the talk, she encouraged audience members to discuss potential policy or support gaps at the college that may prevent rape or sexual assault victims from getting timely, effective support.

College officials suggested a number of ways in which Brookdale could improve, including the creation of a centralized reporting system for the Higher Education Centers and new policies for off-campus learning experiences like internships.

Some students said they could benefit from more comprehensive guidance on the reporting process, and how to draw the line between an offensive comment and sexual harassment.

Brookdale Student Life and Activities (SLA) Director Robert Quinones highlighted the college’s student conduct system, which encourages students to report offensive behavior and helps to adjudicate and mediate situations that develop on campus. Brookdalians can call 743-224-2778 or visit the student conduct website to submit an incident report, Quinones said, or seek additional assistance from college’s Student Conduct Board.

Sondra Cannon-Harris, Brookdale’s manager of diversity, inclusion and compliance, added that her office is always available to respond to reports, answer questions and help connect students to community support services.

Annie Clark present Jill Donovan with a commemorative quilt piece following the SLA discussion on March 3.

Annie Clark present Jill Donovan with a commemorative quilt piece following the SLA discussion on March 3.

“Feel free to reach out to any of us if you have an issue of any nature,” said Cannon-Harris. “My phone number is 732-224-2695.”

Also in attendance were David Stout, Brookdale’s dean of enrollment development and student affairs; Richard Pfeffer, dean of Brookdale’s Freehold campus; and Louise Horgan, executive vice president to President Dr. Maureen Murphy. They and Quinones each sought recommendations from Clark on ways to strengthen Brookdale’s network of support for victims.

Clark, explaining that sexual violence survivors are significantly less likely to develop post-traumatic stress and depression when they receive real support in a timely manner, encouraged all members of the campus community to take such reports seriously.

“Responding in a compassionate way is maybe the best thing you can do,” she said.

Following the lecture, Clark presented SLA Assistant Director Jill Donovan will a blank section of quilt, which will be personalized by Brookdale students and returned to EROC for inclusion in a massive exhibition in Washington D.C.

To learn more about filing an incident report or reporting an emergency with the campus police, click here. To learn more about reporting discrimination or sexual harassment, click here.

The March 3 talk was the second in a series of programs being held this spring as part of the Office of Student Life and Activities’ Spring Lecture Series.

On Tuesday, March 24 at 11:45 a.m., documentary filmmaker Cullen Hoback will discuss his new film “Terms and Conditions May Apply.” The film examines how individuals often “sign away” their privacy rights without knowing it, allowing companies and government organizations to access and share their personal information.