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Recommendations from Campus Climate survey being put into practice

The results of a survey nearly 7 percent of students at Ohio University’s Athens campus completed about their social experiences and safety on campus are helping different departments on campus teach students about sexual assault.

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct issued the Social Experiences and Safety Survey to 19,459 undergraduate and graduate students during Spring Semester last year to assess the scope of sexual misconduct on OU’s Athens campus. Approximately 1,350 students completed the survey all the way through.

More than 80 percent of those who took the survey reported they had experienced some type of sexual misconduct victimization.

The committee put forth 10 recommendations to improve the overall climate of OU and lower the rates of sexual misconduct. Those included developing and evaluating a systematic sexual misconduct prevention plan, integrating sexual assault and alcohol prevention efforts, focusing resources on preventing student-on-student sexual harassment and increasing support to investigative units, such as Title IX investigators, on campus.

“In some cases it was very much a need that jumped up from the page as we worked through the data," Patty Stokes, assistant professor of women's, gender and sexuality studies, said.

She said the committee as a whole helped come up with recommendations, which went through a series of rewrites.

"One of the things that I definitely brought to it was the sense that I wanted every student on campus to know what the resources are and how they differ and what their rights are,” Stokes said.

Though the recommendations are in effect, Stokes said the committee has not yet met this semester. 

The Survivor Advocacy Program at OU is most directly involved in recommendations that focus on training peers to positively respond to disclosures of sexual assaults and ensuring students are receiving information about SAP. 

Much of SAP’s work during Fall Semester was getting the word out that SAP was back and confidential through tabling at Baker Center and outreach programs among other things, SAP Director Kimberly Castor said.

SAP is in the process of developing a student organization that will assist with outreach efforts and work.

“When our student organization is developed and fully functioning, we plan to train the members on empathic response … and self care … and have them go out to the campus community and conduct these workshops for their peers and faculty/staff members that may be interested,” Castor said in an email.

The recommendations put in the committee's report address the need for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention, Mathew Hall, assistant director of Health Promotion, said.

He said his work in Health Promotion is often in collaboration with partners like SAP and Equity and Civil Rights Compliance.

"By proactively demonstrating that our campus does not tolerate sexual violence, providing clear resources and remedies to address instances where it does happen ... it is my hope that we’ll see clear and sustained culture change," Hall said in an email. 

@megankhenry

mh573113@ohio.edu

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