University Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler released results of the second campus sexual climate assessment today, based on feedback from more than 300 students, staff members, faculty and administrators.
The 2012-’13 report aims to examine how well the campus community understands Yale’s existing sexual misconduct resources and to engage members of the University in a broad discussion of campus sexual climate. It follows a 2011 assessment — conducted by a committee chaired by Margaret Marshall LAW ’76 — that was designed to advise administrators on how to improve Yale’s sexual climate.
“While we were encouraged that the community members who participated in this initiative demonstrated a broad general knowledge of the University’s policies, procedures and resources, we also identified a number of opportunities to address points of uncertainty, to simplify processes, and to communicate in ways that are clearer and more meaningful,” the report states.
The overwhelming conclusion regarding student awareness of sexual misconduct policies was “positive,” according to the report, and almost all participants were confident they could access sexual misconduct resources at the University if necessary. Undergraduates almost universally cited the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education Center, or SHARE, as a resource from which they would seek help following an instance of sexual misconduct, and many students were able to name at least one other key sexual misconduct response mechanism at Yale, such as Title IX Coordinators, the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct or the Yale Police Department.
Many students observed that the University has been more open and transparent in its efforts to foster a healthy campus sexual environment. Students who participated in orientation programs over the last two years, which included revised events regarding sexual misconduct resources, demonstrated a greater knowledge of sexual misconduct definitions and procedures.
But the report also found that confusion exists in distinctions between various misconduct reporting processes and in the exact types of support offered by Title IX Coordinators. One suggestion made by students to address this confusion is to provide example scenarios of the outcomes of various complaint processes. The report recommended increased training for University staff and administrators to whom students often turn for support following incidents of sexual misconduct, such as masters, deans and academic advisors.
The assessment was conducted primarily through more than 30 focus group discussions held from November to December. Roughly one third of individuals who provided feedback for the report contacted Title IX coordinators on their own initiative after an October message to the Yale community encouraged input through email, anonymous online comment or one-on-one meetings.