7 Campuses with Excellent Sexual Assault Prevention Initiatives

Who's Doing Sexual Assault Prevention Right

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 22 December 2015 |

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campus initiativesEarlier this year, the Association of American Universities (AAU) released its Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. It made everyone sit up and take notice of the prevalence of sexual assault on higher education campuses. The survey showed many campuses weren't doing enough.

To compound matters, the Department of Education is currently investigating several universities and colleges. The allegations include Title IX violations in the handling of sexual assault cases.

In response, schools all over the country are launching new initiatives to prevent campus sexual violence. And so far, many of them are doing an excellent job.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) has launched “UMatter at UMass,” a campus-wide initiative to prevent sexual assault and other high-risk behaviors. The program focuses heavily on bystander intervention. So far the program has:

  • Put out posters all over campus urging students to be active bystanders
  • Provided 450 residents with bystander training
  • Created several public service videos featuring students

UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy stated, “UMatter at UMass is a campus-wide initiative that encourages all of us to be active bystanders and to participate in the effort to create a caring and compassionate campus community.”

Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana University (IU) is increasing its prevention efforts with a new website and thousands of posters. According to Emily Springston, IU associate general counsel, the website is an easy to access reference point for all the school’s resources related to sexual assault. She also states that the 6,000 posters put up all over campus define sexual violence and educate students where to go to find resources.

There is also the student-lead, staff supported group, Culture of Care. Their mission is to use bystander intervention as a way to empower students to care for each other.

University of Texas

The University of Texas (UT) announced that its launching one of the largest, most comprehensive studies on sexual violence ever conducted in higher education. Wanda Mercer, UT System’s associate vice chancellor for student affairs, explained why this study is so important to the university:

“Sexual violence at colleges and universities has been a major focus nationally. The UT System wants to be a leader in safeguarding our students by understanding and improving our systems, and providing comprehensive and compassionate support network for victims.” 

West Point Military Academy

At West Point, cadets are the ones taking the lead. Two years ago, they started Cadets Against Sexual Harassment and Assault Committee (CASH/A), a grassroots program that “encourages cadets and all members of campus communities to prevent sexual assault by seeing it as their responsibility to do something to prevent it.”

And this year, football players and CASH/A leaders teamed up to promote the White House’s “It’s on US” campaign. Cadets are decorating their helmets, wearing specially designed shirts and unveiling a new video.

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University program for addressing campus sexual violence, Campus Choice, gets students in contact with confidential advisers who explain what options students have as well as guiding throughout any processes they choose to take part in.

And it’s already been proven successful for one student. A student was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend. With the help of the Campus Choice adviser and the local police department, she was able to bring him to justice. And more importantly, she had a resource to help her get back on her feet.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania has taken three major steps to improve its sexual violence prevention programs:

  • The university is starting new initiatives including Penn Anti‐Violence Educators (PAV), a student led group that facilitates workshops and trainings related to bystander intervention.
  • “Thrive at Pen,” the university’s online freshman orientation module covering sexual assault, is now mandatory.
  • Student surveys will now include questions about student resources for sexual violence prevention and will more closely match questions from the AAU’s survey.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College has implemented several major changes to its sexual assault prevention programs—with its biggest focus on education. One of the major components is bystander intervention training.

And since rolling it out, the training has reached thousands of students including many of those participating in athletics, fraternities and sororities.

A Common Element of These Prevention Programs

One thing most of these initiatives have in common is training. Part of the reason is that training is required under Title IX laws for schools receiving federal funding. But more than that, research has shown that comprehensive training programs—specifically, bystander intervention programs—are part of a strategy that works to prevent campus sexual assault.

To help prevent sexual violence on your campus, learn more about our extensive catalog of online training.

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