As 2018 takes full stride, our newsfeeds provide continuous reminders that we are living in a time of rapid change. This is especially true in the field of campus sexual violence: as student affairs professionals around the country brace for upcoming changes to Title IX regulations from the Department of Education (ED) and take note of the myriad campus sexual harassment scandals, staying up-to-date on the lastest news, research, and trends is essential.
Culture of Respect, NASPA’s signature initiative to help colleges and universities address sexual violence, is committed to updating its tools and resources to keep pace with this tumultuous sociopolitical climate. Culture of Respect recently released an update to the CORE Evaluation, a detailed self-assessment survey that can be used by all types of institutions of higher education to inventory campus efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence. This 3rd edition of the survey not only makes improvements in question clarity and specificity, but also explores new content areas that speak to the evolving state of the field. The expanded survey content presents four key themes:
Continued commitment to student wellbeing. It is incredible how much growth this field has experienced since that infamous 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. Today, with more tools and experience than ever, student affairs professionals remain committed to offering a conduct process and response services that support students’ health, safety and security. The updates to CORE Evaluation echo ways campuses are steadfast in realizing that vision: publishing a visual depiction (e.g. flowchart or infographic) of the Title IX reporting process; creating survivor support groups to promote healing; and integrating trauma screenings into health center visits.
Evolution of Title IX. Even amidst the uncertainty that looms in advance of the notice of proposed rulemaking from ED, campuses are thinking broadly and comprehensively about what they can do to ensure TItle IX processes are fair and equitable for all students. The CORE Evaluation reflects this priority by asking institutions to detail services dedicated to respondents, as well as specifications for how and when alternative resolution procedures can be used to resolve complaints, a process that more and more survivors are asking for. The survey also allows schools to specify the full scope of potential sanctions for respondents found responsible of sexual misconduct, including both punitive measures (e.g., suspension, expulsion) and restorative measures (e.g., sex offender treatment).
Working with employees. The recent scandals at the University of Rochester and Michigan State have brought renewed attention to student-employee relationships and reinforced the imperative of administrators working collaboratively with faculty and staff to address and prevent sexual violence. The new CORE Evaluation prompts users to think about the intersection of Title IX and Title VII rights for student employees and asks that institutions look carefully at whether reporting policies for are clear and consistent across multiple policy documents, including any employee handbooks. Culture of Respect urges schools to think creatively about ways to encourage (or mandate) employees to participate in prevention programming so they can be an active part of the campus’ prevention strategy. Finally, the survey emphasizes that employees may also be survivors of violence: institutions are prompted to check if their employee handbook includes an overview of community response resources, and contains a statement of the institution's commitment to accommodating the needs of employees who experience violence.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the current political and social environment where racist, anti-immigrant, transphobic, and homophobic language are commonplace, we must be attuned to the ways that sexual violence intersects with the multiple oppressions that our students face. The new edition of the survey focuses on ways campuses can take strategic action to create an environment where students’ diverse identities are not just acknowledged, but celebrated. The CORE Evaluation asks about cultural competency training for health services staff, as well as about how students are asked to identify their gender, sexual orientation, and racial identities on medical intake forms. Additionally, users are asked how the campus recognizes important days of commemoration such as National Coming Out Day and Trans Day of Remembrance. Finally, the survey asks campuses to catalog other types of self-assessments they have used to inventory the institutions strategy for fostering a climate of inclusion.