Education and Prevention:
University endorsement and use of Callisto reporting process, which features a “Matching” System. Reporting involves filling out a simple template, which a survivor can save their report in an encrypted format and return to with a login and passphrase. Reporting options include a full report sent to the College, an anonymous report, no report, or the “Matching” report, wherein information is sent to the College only if the same perpetrator is named by multiple reporting parties. For many, the biggest motivation in reporting was to protect the community from further assaults. Callisto would allow students to look out for each other by bringing serial rapists to the attention of the College.
Improved education, both during Orientation and beyond. These efforts would address the nuances and grey areas of consent, particularly in relation to substance use. More attention give to these issues at the state of the college experience will help to prevent further assaults by negligence, and encourage more survivors to come forward to report assault, rather than excusing it as normal and acceptable behavior. Education efforts should include:
Small-group, peer-led sessions, hands on teaching from Orientation Aides and other trained leaders. Incoming freshman should be exposed to the real-life experiences of their peers and be provided an opportunity for more open discussion to confirm their understanding of the topics. These sessions should run over the course of the Extended Orientation period.
Education on the nuances of consent and the many types of sexual violence. Students should have a clear understanding of state legislation regarding sexual assault, the school policy for sexual misconduct, and federal legislation, particularly Title IX, as it applies to the student experience and their rights. Finally, students should be made aware of how they may report in the event of an assault.
Sessions should not be separated by gender. All members of our community should be exposed to the same information with an understanding that we are all equally responsible for upholding the standards of respect and the safety of our fellow students.
Bystander intervention education should prepare students with strategies to look out for, recognize, and intervene in situations in which a peer is at risk of suffering sexual assault.
Policy and Process:
In order to uphold current policy, institute a panel trained in policy regarding sexual assault. This three-member panel would consist of one faculty member, one trained counselor, and one administrator. This panel would assume the determination role the Dean holds under the current system. The predetermination meeting would be held with the Reporting party and the Respondent, separately. The panel would determine whether to find the Respondent responsible or not responsible, and after receiving that determination, the Dean of Students would work to determine the appropriate sanctions. This would allow for a more holistic review of sexual misconduct cases rather than place the full determination process onto a single person or office.
Specific definitions to be included in Sexual Misconduct Policy:
“Sexual assault” vs. “sexual exploitation” vs. “sexual misconduct”
What constitutes a preponderance of evidence.
Minimum sanctions to be included in Sexual Misconduct Policy, particularly as they relate to the definitions above.
Mandatory expulsion with multiple (more than 1) counts of sexual misconduct. This allows for the preservation of a truly non-hostile environment, as currently stated in school policy, by permanently removing repeat offenders.
Measures taken to limit or ban the return to campus by alumni previously found responsible for sexual assault.
Creation of Student Advisor Role, available to both Reporting Party and Respondent. Modeled after the existing Conduct and Honor Advisor Program, the peer advisor would guide their appointed advisee through the reporting and investigation process. The Reporting Party and the Respondent may choose to accept or waive their right to a peer advisor. Current volunteers for the Haven or HOPE members would be excellent candidates for this role, given their training on the issues surrounding sexual assault and their experience in an advocate capacity.
Community should be notified of sexual assault reports involving students, regardless of whether or not the assault happened on campus. The Clery Act requires schools to publish “timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees...that are reported to campus security or local law police agencies.” The purview of community notifications should extend beyond campus limits, as does our community.