Madison Area Technical College received 39 reports of sexual harassment — 15 of stalking and 20 of sexual assault — in the past decade, according to information provided by college officials.
The number of cases reported last year — seven sexual harassment, six stalking and nine sexual assault — was the highest for the period 2007-2017, likely in part because of more attention to sexual misconduct issues at the college, said Keith Cornille, MATC executive vice president and chief student services officer.
“I think we are seeing some numbers increase because we are doing more to make students aware of our policy and how to report potential violations, as well as what support is available when people come forward,” Cornille said.
MATC has 2,626 employees, including 1,951 instructors. Enrollment in fall 2017 was 24,067.
The Capital Times requested records on sexual harassment cases as interest in the frequency and handling of such complaints in entertainment, media, politics and higher education has made headlines for several months.
Cornille said MATC, also known as Madison College, keeps a running log of sexual misconduct cases.
In one 2017 sexual assault case, a student had physical contact with a faculty member's face, attempting a kiss. The student was put on two years probation, ordered not to contact the faculty member, and was required to complete an online educational program on inappropriate conduct, according to the log.
Also recorded in 2017 is the suspension from MATC of Coleman Chung, who is awaiting trial on kidnapping and robbery charges for two attacks on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
The log includes sexual assault incidents that occurred off campus, sometimes by an accused who is not associated with the school.
In 2017, for example, of nine reports of sexual assault, five involved accused persons not associated with the college.
That leaves the college with no recourse to take in terms of disciplining an accused perpetrator, but support services are offered to student victims who report such incidents to school officials, Cornille said.
A violation of sexual harassment policy was found in an October 2017 incident involving two students. The respondent was ordered not to contact the complainant, and was moved to a different lab section, restricted in the use of a student center and ordered to take sexual violence awareness training and see a counselor.
In a number of cases of assault and harassment over the years, complainants declined to participate after an initial report or following a report by a third party. Some preliminary investigations found no violation of policy.
MATC last updated its sexual misconduct policies and procedures in March 2017.
The changes were minor, as updates occur annually in consultation with the Wisconsin Technical College System, said Cornille, although WTCS sets no specific policy requirements.
The college also has a consensual relationships policy that prohibits faculty members from becoming involved in “amorous or sexual relationships with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision, even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship.”
This post was edited to correct the circumstances of a 2017 sexual assault incident.