LUBBOCK, Texas — As college students nationwide head into the Red Zone, Texas Tech University said on Wednesday that it prepared by offering prevention measures and resources.
The Red Zone “is the time spanning the start of the fall semester through Thanksgiving break when more than 50% of all college sexual assaults are statistically found to occur,” according to Inside Higher Ed (2019).
“One department we work with quite a bit is the RISE office. That’s our prevention and wellness office, and so, we’ve partnered with their office over the past two weeks. We did a pasta lunch where we talked about good bystander intervention [and] how to help a friend,” said Dr. Kimberly Simón, Assistant Vice President for Compliance and Title IX.
One student, junior Isabelle Simpson, shared her own experiences.
“It’s really close to my heart and it’s just really sad that it happens,” Simpson said, adding that the campus does have blue lights in public areas for emergency situations. “I think that’s helpful, but still, you can only do so much.”
The school offers free counseling, but Simpson expressed concern that the wait-times make it difficult for students to get the help they need.
“Yeah, they offer free counseling, but it’s like, ‘in eight months we’ll see you’ and you’re like, ‘I’m traumatized now.’ They’re trying their best but…” Simpson trailed off.
Another student, Texas Tech senior Channing Siewert, experienced a “scary” situation in front of her dorm. She explained that, thankfully, she wasn’t hurt, and campus police resolved it right away.
The first step toward prevention is education, and in addition to educating students about their rights, “students take an online prevention class before they ever move to Lubbock and we cover information in tabling, campus events, [and] social media messaging,” the Title IX Office said.
“I actually took the training when I was a freshman and I thought it was a great resource,” said senior Rowan Neidinger, adding his fraternity mandated sexual violence prevention and education programming twice a year.
When asked about the quality of education TTU provides on consent, Neidinger said, “I just got back from the Marine Corps and Texas Tech does explain it a lot better than the Marine Corps explains it.”
While the Red Zone ends in mid-October, Dr. Simón said conversations about consent are ongoing with students and staff.