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Reminder to Students:
PCC’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Student Support

President Shoemaker, March 18, 2014

On March 12, the college was invited by a local radio station to participate in an interview planned for that afternoon with an alumna who wrote a blog article about victims of sexual assault at PCC. The article alleged that sexual abuse victims were disciplined for their involvement in the situation. Instead of participating in the live talk show, PCC released a statement to the radio station that denied the claims. A few of you inquired about the matter, so we posted a link on Eagle’s Nest so that you could read and share with others.

Through the years, the Lord has protected PCC’s students, faculty, and staff; reports of harassment in any form have been quite rare. However, in today’s world there are increasing incidences of sexual violence, assault, harassment, and abuse. I imagine that in a student body as large as this, some of you have had to deal with these terrible issues.

Although it is an uncomfortable topic to think or talk about, I want to remind you of PCC’s policies and student services from the Pathway regarding these matters, so you may have full confidence in getting help and reporting something if you should ever need to do so.

Policy

Pensacola Christian College takes a strong stand against abuse in any form; we absolutely do not tolerate sexual assault or harassment. (I am purposefully using these terms broadly to include any unwanted physical or verbal sexual advances from anyone regardless of gender.)

Accordingly, the Pathway includes the official college policy statement regarding sexual assault and harassment in the section entitled, “Harassment, Abuse, and Discrimination” on page 14:

The safety and well-being of students is of utmost importance. PCC does not tolerate hazing, physical or verbal abuse, coercion, stalking, intimidation, harassment (verbal or sexual), discrimination, or any other behavior that places the health and safety of other students in jeopardy.

Reporting

I pray that you never have to deal with something of this nature, but please know that Pensacola Christian College protects and defends victims of sexual harassment or assault. Reports of sexual abuse can be made without fear of recrimination; and no student is punished for being the victim of wrongdoing. Further, the college assists victims in confidentially reporting to law enforcement if desired or necessary and we cooperate with any official investigation against individuals accused of sexual harassment or abuse.

There is a section in the Pathway beginning on page 23 about student rights, and part of that section describes the rights and responsibilities of any student who is the victim of harassment:

Students have the right to be treated with dignity, free from harassment in any form. Students are responsible to demonstrate Christian kindness and charity in all their relationships. It is the responsibility of any student who believes that he has been the subject of legitimate harassment (not frivolous or groundless allegations) to report the incident immediately to a representative of the Student Life Office who will follow the College’s due process in the investigation of the alleged harassment. Any student who is responsible for harassment will be subject to disciplinary action.

I would add that if for any reason you do not feel comfortable going to Student Life about something of this nature, please go to your parents or pastor or even law enforcement. The important thing is that you report it and get help.

Victim Support

Our system of support is not activated unless we know about the situation. Sadly, many factors discourage or delay disclosure and victims often go for long periods of time before they say anything. Pensacola Christian College supports students who are victims of abuse, regardless of when or where the incident occurred. The college employs four counselors credentialed by graduate degrees in counseling, and a fifth credentialed by over 40 years of counseling experience. These trained counselors are equipped to provide biblical guidance and confidentially assist students with a variety of concerns include sexual abuse. They are available to students through the Student Care Office and can provide individual support or referral for other interventions and long-term care.

I pray that you will never have to deal with any form of abuse, assault, or harassment. You should know that PCC does not tolerate sexual abuse or harassment, and we take our responsibility very seriously to respond and assist victims if needed.

Statement Released to Local Radio Station

March 2014 Response to Allegations

Pensacola Christian College is being harassed and victimized through recent online accounts. We have no way of verifying the unverifiable stories, but an exhaustive review of our records has revealed nothing to support these claims. Not only were such incidents never reported, but we categorically deny that any student has ever been expelled from PCC for being a victim of rape or any other crime.

The internet provides an open forum that allows unfounded assertions to be spread without proof. There seems to be no defense against such attacks getting started when someone has an agenda.

While we cannot speak for how well other institutions respond to victims of crime, PCC has upheld the law, will continue to uphold the law, reports criminal acts when we are made knowledgeable of them, and fully cooperates with any investigation. Further, the college, its administration, and counseling staff stand ready to support and assist victims.