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Prevention

Sexual Violence Prevention

The plan presented here was greatly informed by contributions by groups and individuals from the Tulane community who were engaged around this topic and the publicly-released climate survey data. The survey review and feedback and insights shared through the Wave of Change campaign led to increased understanding of the circumstances and factors that are unique to Tulane and could reduce the perpetration and victimization of students.

What is Sexual Violence Prevention?
Brad Romig

Sexual Violence Prevention refers to efforts intended to stop the perpetration of unhealthy, harmful, dangerous, and illegal behavior and acts, as well as victimization and re-victimization by others (ATSA, 2018).  Prevention efforts include developing the attitudes, knowledge, skills, behaviors, and resources necessary to promote individual student and Tulane community health, safety, and wellbeing (ATSA, 2018). 

The field of public health prevention defines three levels of prevention in a social or health problem, primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Scope of the Problem at Tulane

The Tulane University Climate Survey indicates that sexual violence is a pervasive issue on this campus and is a public health matter that needs to be addressed. The results indicate that 40% of female-identified and 18% of male-identified undergraduate students, and 16% of female-identified and 8% of male-identified graduate students report being victims of sexual assault. Additionally, experiencing sexual violence may not be a one-time occurrence for students. Among undergraduate respondents, 10% of female-identified and 4% of male-identified students report having experienced three or more incidents of rape.

Specific populations of concern include heterosexual females and those who identify as LGBTQ+. More than 20% of heterosexual females report begin victims of attempted rape and 23% report being victims of rape. Among LGBTQ+ students, 33% report being victims of attempted rape and 31% victims of rape. The majority (82%) of victims report that their perpetrator was male-identified. Also, of concern is the use of alcohol and other drugs during these incidents. Most victims indicate that they had used alcohol or other drugs, and that the perpetrator had also used alcohol or other drugs, during the incident. These populations and area of concern may require specific focus. 

Expert Panel Recommendations

In addition to a focus on reducing sexual misconduct rates, target factors related to campus climate such as students’ knowledge of sexual consent and perceptions of sanctions for sexual misconduct.

  • Consider producing short educational videos on key topics featuring current students.
  • Require syllabus statements including the campus sexual misconduct policy and campus resources for survivors. Consider adding a syllabus quiz or other means to encourage students to carefully read syllabi.

Develop course material focused on campus violence reduction from multiple perspectives and weave it through the existing curriculum, such as empowerment and ecological frameworks.

  • Offer faculty incentives for developing or integrating this content into their courses (cf. Instructional technology)
  • Institute measures to incentivize or otherwise drive students to existing and future courses containing this content.

Engage current Tulane staff, students, and faculty who have had concerns with the climate data response process.

  • Students: Form committees and workgroups focused on key issues. Determine specific group tasks and decide procedural outcomes at the outset of group formation. Desired results are to give students leadership and control over the issues, while avoiding a perception that the administration is passing responsibility or blame to students.
  • Staff: Increase response coordination across Tulane administrators, staff, and faculty. Develop iterative communication processes where all requested products receive follow-up and . there is clearer communication regarding timelines and action plan steps. Tulane staff members with expertise and positions related to campus violence prevention should hold leadership roles in responding to the climate survey data.
  • Faculty: Involve Tulane faculty from units already engaged in study of relevant issues—such as violence prevention, substance abuse, or social norms (e.g., Public Health, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Communications.

Use climate data to determine action plan priorities, campus violence prevention methods, and to determine resources allocated to violence and harassment prevention efforts.

Consider following the Rutgers model for institutional investment, accountability, and long-term commitment to reducing sexual misconduct.

Build additional research and teaching capacity by prioritizing research expertise and teaching experience/interests in areas related to violence prevention during future faculty searches.

Support engaged scholarship among current and future Tulane faculty to help reduce violence on Tulane’s campus en route to more generalizable research (e.g., seed grant program or course buy outs to support pilot data collection for subsequent external grant proposals).

Continue efforts to reduce student high-risk drinking, but also note that these efforts are not to be promoted as or used in place of sexual misconduct prevention measures.

The Way Forward

Mission: Tulane’s Commitment to Stop Sexual Violence

As we move forward with prevention, our end goal is to stop violence before it occurs. To that end, we developed six broad goals to support that mission. 

Six goals for prevention

The following plan, which makes use of all three levels of intervention, includes objectives, strategies, and tactics, along with aspects that focus on specific groups within our community. The proposed plan includes existing resources and efforts being re-directed, along with new investments for initiatives.

New Initiatives 2018-2019

Working toward the ultimate goal of ending sexual violence at Tulane University, the following strategies and tactics are being implemented.

Phase I

Education
  • Hire an Assistant Director for Fraternity Life in the Office of Greek Life focusing on men's education and engagement within the Greek system
  • Hire a Sr. Health Promotion Specialist focused on sexual violence prevention and education for Tulane’s graduate and professional students
  • A new TUPHE led workshop focused on what is consent and how to obtain consent in a healthy sexual relationship
  • A TIDES anchor on sexual violence prevention
Outreach
  • A Parent’s Guide on how to talk with students about sexual violence
  • A Faculty and Staff Guide on how to talk with students about sexual violence
  • A Sexual Respect Safety Card available at Campus Health and various locations on campus
Environment & Culture
  • A centralized, online hub for sexual violence prevention and response, support and resources — All In: Tulane's Commitment to Stop All Sexual Violence webpage  
  • “Know Your Power” sexual violence prevention campaign
Involvement
  • Creation of a coalition of student leaders that meet regularly to discuss, plan and coordinate sexual violence prevention and response efforts that are student led is in development
  • A new coalition for University leadership, including faculty, staff and students, that is focused on coordination of both prevention and response and community engagement will begin meeting this fall

Phase II

Education
  • Training for student leaders on how to connect their peers to resources
  • A sexual health curriculum focused on all types of healthy relationships
  • A standardized online training for all graduate and professional students on sexual violence
  • An identity curriculum to explore personal identity and understanding of others
Outreach
  • A monthly e-newsletter on sexual violence prevention research and initiatives
  • Annual training for staff/faculty on how to connect students with resources
  • Annual webinar for parents on how to talk to their student about sexual violence
Environment & Culture
  • A campaign to increase awareness of sexual misconduct and interaction with the Student Code of Conduct
  • A Consent and Respect campaign
Involvement
  • A men’s mentoring program.
  • Community service/engagement opportunities.
  • Continuing Initiatives
Education
  • Pre-orientation education
  • Orientation programming on sexual violence prevention
  • One Wave Bystander Education
  • Live Well Education Series
Outreach
  • Shifting the Paradigm Annual Meeting
  • Live Well Hut outreach
Environment & Culture
  • Regular Climate survey implementation
Involvement

Project IX initiative

Phase III

Prior to the end of Phase II, the impact of phase 1 efforts will be studied for impact and prepare a new set of recommendations. Phase III will be presented based on the impact of Phase I & II and coordinated with plans for the next climate survey.