University continues work to strengthen sexual misconduct education, training, policy

· 4 min read

University continues work to strengthen sexual misconduct education, training, policy

Courtesy of University Communication

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has continued to make steady progress in its work to improve education, training and policy that addresses sexual misconduct.

Guided primarily by a Campuswide Collaborative on Sexual Misconduct report, the university is addressing 35 recommendations to help advance sexual misconduct-related policies and procedures. In the 10 months between the report being issued and the start of the fall 2021 semester, the university has successfully implemented 15 of the recommendations, is working to meet 17 others, and is studying the feasibility of the remaining three.

Along with multiple policies and procedures implemented via the report, critical points met to date by the university include:

  • Requiring annual sexual misconduct training for all incoming students, new faculty and staff, University Police and University Health Center employees;

  • Promoting broadly the definition of affirmative consent; and

  • Offering focused training for relevant Title IX employees on trauma informed care and how to use restorative practices for informal resolutions.

The university is also moving forward with a needs assessment; developing a campus climate survey regarding sexual misconduct; expanding mandatory training; developing an annual Title IX report; increasing promotion and visibility of campus resources, including the Title IX office; developing a clear overview on the process of reviewing sexual misconduct cases (including the work of the Title IX office and beyond); creating a permanent commission/committee on sexual misconduct; and including a university policy-focused group within the permanent commission/committee.

Online and printed guides will soon be available to better inform employees on how to respond to sexual misconduct disclosures, and the university will continue to support and encourage students, faculty and staff to actively seek out grants that would further sexual misconduct prevention and education efforts.

Video: "Use Your Voice"

Launched by Chancellor Ronnie Green in September 2019, the Campuswide Collaborative was charged with recommending efforts to improve education training and policy development to address sexual misconduct. In collaboration with Student Affairs, Title IX staff and Academic Affairs, it was led by Susan Swearer, professor of educational psychology and a licensed psychologist.

Modeled after similar initiatives at other Big Ten institutions, the collaborative featured representation by students, faculty, staff and the greater Lincoln community. It included working groups in three key areas: prevention and education; intervention; and policy, procedures and practices. Each working group was co-led by faculty and staff with related expertise.

In pursuit of its charge, the collaborative followed best practices as outlined by the National Association of Student Personal Administrators’ “Culture of Respect: CORE Blueprint.” The publication is a strategic roadmap designed to address sexual violence on university campuses.

The complete, 43-page report by the Campuswide Collaborative is available for review here. A summary of the recommendations and progress made by the university on each is available for review here.

The collaborative is part of the university’s deep history of supporting anti-violence work on campus. Those efforts include establishing the Women’s Center in 1971. Along with offering supports to students, the center has led or sponsored a variety of events, including Week Without Violence, Take Back the Night and Not On My Campus.

In 1998, PREVENT, a recognized student organization, was launched with an initial focus on sexual assault and relationship violence prevention. Its work expanded to include advocacy.

More recently, the university created the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education to address sexual and gender-based misconduct. The CARE program offers two full-time advocates who provide support services and ongoing prevention awareness programs for students.

Additional recent steps include developing the Use Your Voice initiative, an awareness campaign to promote campus resources, reporting options and a supportive climate; and building a dedicated sexual misconduct website.

Learn more about the Campuswide Collaborative and the university’s history in offering sexual misconduct supports to the university community.

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