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President Crow names task force on sexual violence prevention

August 21, 2014

Panel of faculty, staff and students to study ways to extend the university’s efforts to combat sexual violence

Addressing a problem that affects campuses across the country, President Michael Crow today named a task force to review Arizona State University’s efforts to prevent sexual violence and ensure that current polices and programs foster “a culture of respect” for all members of the ASU community.

The task force comprised of faculty, staff, students and members of the ASU Police Department will review current policies and practices, strengthen education and awareness efforts, enhance partnerships with key organizations and agencies, and review and recommend support services and resources for victims of sexual misconduct.

Sexual violence, including sexual assault, is recognized as a national problem, and colleges and universities have not been immune. National surveys report that one in five undergraduate women and one in 16 undergraduate men experience attempted or completed sexual assault while in college. Sexual violence has a profound impact on a victim’s academic, social and personal life, and negatively affects the experiences of their friends and families, other students and members of the university community.

“ASU is committed to combating this complex social problem and strives to foster a positive learning, working and living environment that promotes every individual’s ability to work and study without fear of sexual harassment or sexual violence,” Crow said. “Through university policies, awareness efforts, education and training programs, and advocacy, every member of the ASU community should be prepared to actively contribute to a culture of respect and keep our community free from sexual violence, harassment, exploitation and intimidation.”

The university provides many resources designed to combat sexual violence. This fall, more than 4,000 students are participating in training to raise awareness about sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention. Additionally, all ASU students will be completing Consent and Respect, an online educational module designed to enhance awareness of sexual violence and its impact on college students, and to provide critical information on what to do if you or someone you know experiences sexual violence. Expanded sexual violence prevention training and education will also be provided to all faculty and staff. Information on how to report an incident, university policies and procedures can be found at a new web portal that provides a comprehensive list of campus resources dedicated to combating sexual violence.

The task force review comes at a time when policymakers at the national level are increasingly focused on the problem of sexual violence on campuses, and it will provide an opportunity to gauge where ASU’s policies and procedures stand with regard to evolving federal regulations.

Specifically, the task force will:

• review current reporting and adjudication processes and procedures, and make recommendation for change or improvement

• review current support services and recommend opportunities to provide maximum support to community members who experience sexual violence

• recommend ways to increase overall awareness within the campus community on issues of sexual violence, community standards and campus resources

• identify ways to enhance the effectiveness of our educational efforts regarding sexual assault prevention and bystander education

• recommend ways for members of the community to engage in educational activities toward building a culture that fosters prevention

• examine the role of alcohol and drugs in relation to issues of sexual violence, and make recommendations for policy, education and outreach

• identify how the institution should best evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts

The task force will be co-chaired by Marlene Tromp, vice provost and dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, and Jennifer Hightower, deputy vice president for student services. It will seek input broadly from students, faculty, administrators, law enforcement and subject matter experts.

The university encourages students to report sexual assault to the university’s police department, and if the student is uncomfortable with contacting ASU Police directly, he or she can consult with other members of the university staff who will connect the student with the proper support and services.

Sexual assault cases that are reported at ASU are fully investigated in accordance with the Arizona Board of Regents Student Code of Conduct. These cases are handled with sensitivity throughout the process, from counseling to reporting the crime.