11:52pm Wednesday 20 September 2017

Rice working group outlines recommendations for sexual violence prevention

The report is the product of seven months of evaluation and discussion from the working group, chaired by Matt Taylor, associate dean of undergraduates. Rice President David Leebron appointed the committee of graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff last year following the federal report “Not Alone” from the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault.

“Creation of the working group certainly was related to the federal government’s intensified focus on Title IX issues, but Dean Hutchinson and I viewed it also as a continuation of efforts that he, Dean (Don) Ostdiek and others had initiated over the past two years to enhance Rice’s resources for and responsiveness to sexual misconduct,” Taylor said. “The principal focus of our work was not producing recommendations to keep Rice compliant with federal rules; the principal focus was enhancing the health and safety of the Rice community.”

One of the most visible outcomes of the working group is the newly revamped http://safe.rice.edu, the website for the Sexual Assault-Free Environment program, “Project SAFE.” The website provides information and resources for survivors of sexual assault and for responding students, friends, faculty and staff.

According to Allison Vogt, director of sexual violence prevention and Title IX support, the website is a “one-stop shop” designed to make accessible information and tools to help Rice students get the resources they need – both on campus and in the city of Houston.

“Rather than simply focus on policy, we’ve taken a public health approach to care,” Vogt said. “The resources on the website are intended to connect individuals with help or help those that are close to them.”

Another recommendation of the working group was for Rice to conduct a survey to gain a greater and more precise knowledge of the prevalence of sexual misconduct on the campus and assess knowledge of and opinions about the university’s sexual misconduct policies, procedures and practices. The survey will take place in two parts, with the first part conducted before the end of the semester. For continuing undergraduates, the survey will be given in conjunction with the Survey of All Students, which is required of students before registering for fall courses. For graduating seniors, the survey will be given in conjunction with the Senior Exit Survey, which is taken prior to commencement. For more information on the survey, visit http://safe.rice.edu/SexualMisconductSurveyFAQs/.

Additional recommendations from the working group included training for faculty, staff and students, updated Student Judicial Programs’ disciplinary processes and annual review of procedures regarding sexual misconduct.

“A report that includes 28 recommendations might be interpreted as suggesting that Rice’s efforts related to Title IX and sexual violence are falling short of best practices and government requirements,” Taylor said. “To the contrary, during every phase of its work, my working group encountered broad and deep institutional commitment to combating sexual misconduct and sexual assault, and to cultivation of a safe and caring campus environment. We found that Rice had taken action well in advance of government mandates (and many peer institutions) in many key areas — support resources, prevention programming and disciplinary processes.”

“Everyone in the Rice community owes a debt of gratitude to Matt Taylor and the members of the working group as well as to members of Student Wellbeing, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Title IX support, and Student Judicial Programs,” Hutchinson said. “Working diligently together, they have helped to ensure that Rice is a safe environment.”

 
About Amy McCaig
Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University’s Office of Public Affairs.
 

Rice University’s Working Group on University Response to Sexual Assault Initiatives has released a 15-page report with 28 recommendations regarding the campus discussion about sexual misconduct and sexual violence, according to an email sent March 17 by Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson.

The report is the product of seven months of evaluation and discussion from the working group, chaired by Matt Taylor, associate dean of undergraduates. Rice President David Leebron appointed the committee of graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff last year following the federal report “Not Alone” from the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault.

“Creation of the working group certainly was related to the federal government’s intensified focus on Title IX issues, but Dean Hutchinson and I viewed it also as a continuation of efforts that he, Dean (Don) Ostdiek and others had initiated over the past two years to enhance Rice’s resources for and responsiveness to sexual misconduct,” Taylor said. “The principal focus of our work was not producing recommendations to keep Rice compliant with federal rules; the principal focus was enhancing the health and safety of the Rice community.”

One of the most visible outcomes of the working group is the newly revamped http://safe.rice.edu, the website for the Sexual Assault-Free Environment program, “Project SAFE.” The website provides information and resources for survivors of sexual assault and for responding students, friends, faculty and staff.

According to Allison Vogt, director of sexual violence prevention and Title IX support, the website is a “one-stop shop” designed to make accessible information and tools to help Rice students get the resources they need – both on campus and in the city of Houston.

“Rather than simply focus on policy, we’ve taken a public health approach to care,” Vogt said. “The resources on the website are intended to connect individuals with help or help those that are close to them.”

Another recommendation of the working group was for Rice to conduct a survey to gain a greater and more precise knowledge of the prevalence of sexual misconduct on the campus and assess knowledge of and opinions about the university’s sexual misconduct policies, procedures and practices. The survey will take place in two parts, with the first part conducted before the end of the semester. For continuing undergraduates, the survey will be given in conjunction with the Survey of All Students, which is required of students before registering for fall courses. For graduating seniors, the survey will be given in conjunction with the Senior Exit Survey, which is taken prior to commencement. For more information on the survey, visit http://safe.rice.edu/SexualMisconductSurveyFAQs/.

Additional recommendations from the working group included training for faculty, staff and students, updated Student Judicial Programs’ disciplinary processes and annual review of procedures regarding sexual misconduct.

“A report that includes 28 recommendations might be interpreted as suggesting that Rice’s efforts related to Title IX and sexual violence are falling short of best practices and government requirements,” Taylor said. “To the contrary, during every phase of its work, my working group encountered broad and deep institutional commitment to combating sexual misconduct and sexual assault, and to cultivation of a safe and caring campus environment. We found that Rice had taken action well in advance of government mandates (and many peer institutions) in many key areas — support resources, prevention programming and disciplinary processes.”

“Everyone in the Rice community owes a debt of gratitude to Matt Taylor and the members of the working group as well as to members of Student Wellbeing, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Title IX support, and Student Judicial Programs,” Hutchinson said. “Working diligently together, they have helped to ensure that Rice is a safe environment.”

 

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University’s Office of Public Affairs.

– See more at: http://news.rice.edu/2015/03/24/rice-working-group-outlines-recommendations-for-sexual-violence-prevention/#sthash.TD2ukZ5m.dpuf


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