Ramapo College’s Expert Named to New Jersey’s Higher Education’s Sexual Assault Commission

Kat McGee, J.D.., Ramapo College’s Director of Title IX, ADA and Compliance Training, has been named to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education’s (OSHE) Campus Sexual Assault Commission.

The Commission named its inaugural members in a meeting in early March to build on its commitment to ensure all New Jersey campuses are safe and inclusive spaces for college and university students. The state established the Commission to implement recommendations from the New Jersey State Plan for Higher Education working group on Safe and Inclusive Learning Environments and to further the work of its Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault. McGee joins other prominent New Jersey campus leaders, as well as members from OSHE, the Department of Children and Families, and the Office of the Attorney General on the Commission.

“As state leaders and educators, our top priority is to ensure a safe environment for all students to learn and grow. The Campus Sexual Assault Commission will bring together campus experts, advocates, and law enforcement,” said McGee, a Ramapo alumna from the class of 2006. “By working with our colleagues across the state, we will advance research on campus sexual assault and use this information to make our campuses safer. We will also partner with the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) to ensure survivors have the best possible resources available on campus. Through education and innovation, we can address the root causes of rape culture, meaning a culture that normalizes and excuses sexual violence. When we educate the next generation of New Jersey leaders about these issues, the results are safer communities for everyone.”

Over the past several years, Ramapo College has taken a leading role in the state and nationally on matters pertaining to sexual assault and awareness. The College established an Office of Violence Prevention, it houses a satellite office of YWCA Northern NJ Healing SPACE Sexual Violence Resource Center on its campus, and it was the recipient of a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. The Mahwah-based College also continues to deliver advocacy and awareness programs for students and the community focused on consent, survivor resources, and bystander intervention. In December 2020, the College was awarded the International Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention for its “exemplary efforts to foster safety, well-being and inclusion through online prevention programs. Fewer than 15 percent of U.S. institutions have earned the distinction thus far. In addition, college administrators have accepted invitations to offer expert testimony before the federal Department of education as well as state and assembly committees on the implications of changes to Title IX policy.

Nicole Morgan Agard, Chief Equity and Diversity Officer at Ramapo College, stated, “We are pleased that OSHE has appointed Director McGee to serve as an inaugural member of the Campus Sexual Assault Commission and that the Commission will continue the work of the state’s Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault. Her service on the Commission will advance our efforts in ensuring that Ramapo College continues to be a safe campus for all students.”

The Commission’s work is focused on studying and evaluating emerging issues, policies and practices concerning campus sexual assault; monitoring progress and offering technical assistance to institutions of higher education in implementing campus climate surveys; and developing institution-specific action plans responsive to the issues and needs identified through the campus climate surveys.

“Every student in New Jersey should feel safe and supported as they pursue a high-quality credential, and this Commission is one of the strategies that will help ensure that students are heard,” said Dr. Brian Bridges, Secretary of Higher Education, said in a statement. “A campus culture that promotes connectedness improves the sense of belonging and encourages persistence toward earning a degree, particularly for LGBTQ+, minority and first-generation college students. I look forward to working with this Commission as we seek to make New Jersey’s college campuses safer spaces for all students.”

For more information about Ramapo College’s Title IX policies, programs and resources, visit www.ramapo.edu/titleix/

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.