Op-Ed: Introducing Swarthmore’s Grievance Advisor and Community Educator

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Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Letter submitted by Grievance Advisor and Community Educator Amy Jones.

I joined the Swarthmore community in January and although Mother Nature decided to give me a chilly welcome, those I have met have been nothing but warm and inviting. My name is Amy Jones and I am Swarthmore’s new Grievance Advisor and Community Educator. This position was created based on feedback from our community and the desire to provide the best resources for our students and community as a whole.

As the Grievance Advisor, I work with students who may need assistance navigating the various policies and procedures of the college. This includes any students charged with violating the Student Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity Policy, or the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy.

This position is unique in that it provides students who are respondents in a Title IX investigation of sexual assault, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct a point of contact and resource to help them better understand the policies and procedures as well as assist them in finding appropriate resources. As is stipulated in federal law, specifically Title IX, my role is to ensure that all students are provided equal and fair access to resources and information that will help them understand their rights and responsibilities as it pertains to our campus policies.

The policies of the college are designed to protect the values and culture of an academic living-learning community which inspires educational and developmental growth. Understanding the intricacies of the college’s policies and procedures can be overwhelming, and Swarthmore has dedicated itself to providing a resource for even the most complex circumstances. I am available for any student and can be contacted through the Dean’s Office, by email (arozell1@swarthmore.edu), or simply by stopping by my office in 121 Parrish Hall.

In addition to providing resources for students on campus, Swarthmore has dedicated itself to providing preventative health and safety programs/trainings. As a Community Educator, I collaborate with others across campus to design and implement a bystander intervention program that will support our goals of building a safe and violence-free community.  This program/training is designed to teach us how to identify when others need help and then provide the skills and tools to take action. The term “bystander intervention” means the “willingness to assist a person in need of help” (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2002). Committing to a bystander intervention program puts the value of social responsibility that the Swarthmore community prizes into action.

We are currently working to pull all of the pieces together to have a fully integrated program for the upcoming semesters. New students will participate in an online program this summer followed by supplementary programs throughout the following year. Current students will be introduced to the bystander intervention model throughout the year as the program is intended to be integrated into several programmatic areas.

It is time we all take responsibility for creating the environment we want for Swarthmore College. It starts with a commitment from each of us to actively participate in the development of a respectful and engaging community. Swarthmore is already a strong and caring community; implementing a bystander intervention model will simply formalize and strengthen much of the proactive actions we already engage in. The dedication and care that Swarthmore community members have for each other has been apparent to me from the beginning.  I am excited to now be a part of that and look forward to serving our campus community.

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