A Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) sexual assault resource website will receive what many believe is a much-needed update in the near future. On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Student Life Committee member Angel Riddle ’19 organized a brainstorm session regarding the website’s reconstruction.
“There is different information that you can find on the e-portfolio, the health services website, and the diversity and inclusion website,” Riddle wrote to in an email to The Argus. “My goal is to have a way to consolidate all of this information into one webpage that is easier to navigate and streamlines the reporting process into one, digestible, easy to understand resource.”
Consolidating the website will affect more than the number of tabs students will need to have open on their laptops.
“This is really important to me personally because I am aware of how few people report their assaults due to how confusing the entire process is for most people,” Riddle wrote. “Making it easier to report incidents would hopefully encourage more people to report, especially important following the Scott Backer scandal, and feel more confident in the administration to handle their specific cases.”
Riddle was commissioned by Vice President for Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Officer Antonio Farias to work on the website revamping. But she is also approaching the project as a member of the WSA.
“I have been vocalizing my discontent with the website since last year and a general revamping of the resources available for survivors,” Riddle wrote. “This seemed like the first step to take in handling a much larger, structural issue.”
Although turnout for the brainstorming session was not high, which Riddle attributes to the aftermath of the election results, several decisions were made at the meeting. They included having an annual outcome report on the website such as Brown University’s, having interactive flowchart links, compiling a list of behaviors—a “Did I experience sexual assault” list—and what to expect from the reporting process (accessible from both health services and Title IX), fixing broken links on the website, and having a list of names on the Title IX advisory committee.
Aurora McGuckin ’19, who attended the brainstorm session, said that most of the discussion was centered around making the website more navigable and consolidating all the information about sexual assault.
“We also talked about the importance of having a step-by-step explanation and rough timeline of the reporting process and help make it less daunting,” McGuckin wrote in a message to The Argus. “It’s essential for the information to be as clear and easily accessible as possible to minimize any obstacles to finding support.”
Lizzie Shackney ’17, Chair of the Student Life Committee, emphasized the project’s importance.
“This is important because transparency and clarity are important, especially to survivors,” she wrote in a message to The Argus. “When we were looking at the website over the summer and at the beginning of the semester, some of the contact information was incorrect (pretty sure Scott Backer’s name was still there), although it has since been updated. It’s not all that user friendly, and I think there’s a lot more information that could be up there, esp. related to accommodations you can request, academic or otherwise.”
Shackney continued that one of the website’s most important goals is clarity.
“The reporting process is there, but not clear,” she wrote. “There’s so much more I want to know, and I want it to be presented in a way that I can read. The easier it is to use and the more information there is, the more likely it is for anyone to be able to understand and hopefully trust the process.”