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Keene State and Keene Police Sign Agreement


Keene State College and Keene Police Department Formalize Agreement for Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault

Agreement Based on Recommendations from White House Task Force; Action Builds on Existing College Initiatives

Keene State College and the City of Keene have formalized an agreement that outlines close collaboration between the two organizations to help prevent and respond to sexual assault. The agreement was officially signed on September 2 by Keene State College and Keene Police Department. As sexual assault is a concerning national issue, this joint action follows recommendations made by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The agreement is another step that Keene State is taking, which builds upon a number of existing programs and resources that Keene State College provides to students, faculty and staff.

“Colleges and local law enforcement need to work together around sexual assault to protect and support students. We are extremely fortunate to have built a positive working relationship with Keene Police Department. We value that relationship greatly, and this MOU demonstrates our collective commitment,” said Keene State College Director of Campus Safety, Amanda Guthorn.

A report with guidelines to creating an agreement, titled “Building Partnerships among Law Enforcement Agencies, Colleges and Universities: Developing a Memorandum of Understanding to Prevent and Respond Effectively to Sexual Assaults at Colleges and Universities” was released by the White House task force in January of this year. The document says that partnerships “between local law enforcement agencies and IHEs, including those with campus police departments, can strengthen, and help sustain, their efforts to prevent and effectively respond to sexual assault using a fair, victim-centered, and trauma-informed approach.” Both Keene State College and Keene Police Department agree with this statement, and Guthorn initiated this MOU after the report’s release in order to accomplish these goals.

“For many years, the Keene Police Department and Keene State College have worked cooperatively together on issues of mutual concern, including the investigation of sexual assaults involving Keene State students. Both organizations continue to share the goal of preventing sexual assault at Keene State and in the broader community, and responding appropriately to victims of sexual assault,” said Keene Police Chief Brian Costa.

This agreement builds on many existing support programs at Keene State College that create awareness of the issue of sexual assault and resources that are available, in order to help prevent it. These programs start with new student orientation and are available throughout the college experience. The programs include sexual assault and bystander awareness education; physical defense classes for women; the hiring of new college staff members to focus on education, prevention and intake of cases; confidential support services through the college’s Counseling Center, Center for Health and Wellness, 24/7 crisis phone line and online anonymous reporting portal; training for faculty, staff and students; educational events; and participation in the Cheshire County Sexual Assault Resource Team, which includes collaboration with local organizations such as Monadnock Voices for Violence Prevention, among other initiatives.

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