Ohio State announces new office to respond to harassment

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University announced a new office on Tuesday to respond to harassment, according to a press release from the school.

The office will handle claims of sexual and gender-based and harassment, violence, and other forms of discrimination.

The news comes on the first day of classes for students and after the Sexual Civility and Empowerment Unit was dissolved earlier this year.

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The university said the new office will report to executive vice president and provost Bruce McPheron.

The university said there will be intake and outreach coordinators to work with students, faculty, and staff to help file required report, understand their rights and talk to them about any concerns about reporting.

The coordinators will help people have access to available resources and can be reached at 614-247-5838.

A confidential phone line has been set up for students who want to talk to someone, including psychologists and physicians.

The phone number is 614-688-3956 and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The university also said in a release:

Additionally, students can access confidential counseling on campus through the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service and Student Health Services, offering medical confidentiality and support. Confidential advocacy services are also available in the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO). Faculty and staff can access confidential resources through Ohio State’s Employee Assistance Program and SARNCO. The Wexner Medical Center’s STAR Program also provides on-campus confidential advocacy and counseling in addition to the services currently available through the medical center’s Emergency Department and the Mount Carmel Crime and Trauma Assistance Program.

Ohio State said it is continuing to review its Title IX programs, including adding an online course launching this fall proving education, prevention, and tools to report inappropriate behavior.

The school is also adding two more students to a task force to company sexual misconduct and relationship violence.

Finally, the school has added a website about what support service are available.

A final set of recommendations is expected this semester from a law firm chosen in June to help build a model to support victims of sexual assault and evaluate the Title IX program.

“The university will continue to focus on advancing our efforts in this vital area,” President Michael V. Drake said. “The members of our Buckeye community deserve nothing less.”

The university said the new office will report to executive vice president and provost Bruce McPheron.

“We strive each day to make Ohio State the best possible place to live, work and learn,” McPheron said. “Our work toward preventing and responding to sexual misconduct on campus is vital to that effort.”