Office of the President

October 1, 2018 - Reflections on national conversations about sexual violence

Dear campus community,

Like many of you, I spent a large part of the last week contemplating a topic that continues to hold national attention and that has stimulated conversations at all levels, including here at Chico State. Watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh give testimony last week was something few of us had witnessed before. We saw and participated in a national conversation about sexual violence, the rights of victims and those accused, and the speed at which we should come to judgments about such matters. Not since Anita Hill has the country been so engaged in a dialogue about sexual violence, gender equity, and power dynamics.
What is clear from these discussions is the stakes are high for all involved and the damage caused by sexual violence cannot be understated. College students are at high risk for sexual violence—which includes sexual assault and harassment. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during their college career and of those, only 20% report to law enforcement. The reality is sexual violence affects all genders. We all know someone who has experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, so we must approach this subject with respect and thoughtful consideration.

Conversations surrounding sexual violence in the media, your classrooms, and in your social circles can be difficult. I would like to highlight resources to aid in courageous conversations around sexual violence and support those affected by it.

  • Macalester College’s Supporting Student Survivors in the Classroom
  • Managing Hot Topics
  • Safe Place
  • Title IX Office
  • Counseling and Wellness Center
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • University Police Department
  • Community Legal Information Center

At Chico State, we believe that everyone has a role to play in the prevention of violence. We are engaged in collaborative efforts to educate about and prevent sexual violence in our community. In support of education on bystander intervention, healthy relationships, and affirmative consent, the University requires “Not Anymore” online training for students as well as annual training for all employees, and launched a new program this year for incoming residential students called Wildcats ACT (Alcohol and Consent Training). Safe Place and Title IX also offer single-session presentations and trainings throughout the year. If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact Safe Place at 530-898-3030 or the Title IX Office at 530-898-4949.

No matter where you fall on the Supreme Court appointment, thinking about the issues of sexual violence and what we can do to combat them is time well spent. As an educational institution whose mission it is to foster and facilitate dialogue regarding divergent ideas, it is important for us to be engaged in these discussions. It is equally important to approach this subject with the knowledge that we may not know other people’s experiences. We should therefore respect the emotions, boundaries, and opinions of everyone, including those who do not want to engage in these conversations. I encourage you to listen to and support one another in ways that are respectful and build understanding so that we may continue to grow as a community.


Gayle Hutchinson