UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 18, 2024

Sexual assault allegations bring attention toward resources available to students

During the month of February, the Dixie State University Police Department alerted students about reported sexual assaults and a male stalker. The DSUPD continues to inform students of resources implemented for them in these situations. Photo by Bailey Chamberlain.

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Following the release of two safety notices regarding sexual assault and harassment, the Dixie State University Police Department continues to inform students of their resources on campus.

According to a safety alert from the university, the DSUPD has received multiple reports of alleged sexual assaults that have occurred on separate dates at a private residence on W. Bloomington Drive S.

Chief of Police Blair Barfuss said the Title IX office has received many off-campus sexual assault reports from DSU students that have occurred at the residence, but could not specify the exact number of cases.

Shortly after the allegations were brought to light, the university released a separate timely warning concerning a male suspect who was arrested and booked into jail on charges of stalking, unlawful detention, electronic harassment, failure to stop for police, and providing false information to a police officer.

Barfuss said the situation at hand was concerning. The student lived on campus, and the crimes occurred in the North Plaza parking lot.

These cases are currently under investigation, and both the DSUPD and St. George Police Department have declined requests to comment any further regarding these situations.

For situations such as these, DSU provides survivors with a variety of different resources including the Booth Wellness Center, Women’s Resource Center, Title IX Office and the Dove Center.

DSU’s Office of Equity Compliance and Title IX promotes “equity and inclusion in DSU’s educational programs and workplace through education, prevention and response to reports and complaints.”

If a DSU student is sexually assaulted, the first step should be to reach out to Hazel Sainsbury, director of equity compliance and title IX coordinator.

Sainsbury said, “We understand that when these traumatic events occur in a student’s life they need to know that DSU has the extra support to restore their safety and wellness.”

All cases that are brought to the Title IX office get taken seriously. The office’s role is to guide students to receive resources and to provide support for them to continue to participate in the academic institution.

If a DSU student is assaulted off campus, they can still report their case to Sainsbury.

“If one of our own experiences this, it does not matter where it occurred,” Sainsbury said. “Providing supportive measures is the best, quickest restorative thing we could do to ensure that a student can continue to participate.”

In some cases of sexual assault, the Title IX Office might refer a student to The Dove Center of St. George.

The center provides safe shelter and trauma-informed services to facilitate safety, healing and assault recovery; it also relentlessly pursues community education to increase bystander awareness and shift cultural norms.

Elizabeth Bluhm, rape and sexual assault recovery program manager and victim advocate for the Dove Center, said it is important for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse to reach out for help.

“It can be beneficial to hear from other survivors,” Bluhm said.

As a victim advocate, Bluhm leads survivors in a healing direction. She said it can be terrifying for the victim to talk about the assault and recover from the physical or emotional abuse.

The Dove Center offers various individual and group healing sessions for survivors to have a safe space to talk about their traumatic situation, and its resources are available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday at the DSU Women’s Resource Center.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, dating violence, or are the victim of a crime, call police dispatch at 435-627-4300 or report it online at: https://dixie.edu/report-a-concern/.