The Yale Communication and Consent Educators — with the help of freshman counselors, peer liaisons and Peer Health Educators — released a series of 21 web videos yesterday that outline the steps of filing a formal complaint with the University Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) and also profile seven administrators involved in the process.
The project, which was planned and filmed over the course of the fall semester, addresses common questions about the UWC, including the meaning of confidentiality, the difference between formal versus informal complaints and the role of Title IX Coordinators. The videos are directed towards students who may be helping a friend through the process of filing a complaint, which CCEs believe will create a more supportive campus network, CCE project organizer Matthew Breuer ’14 said.
“We are trying to talk about [UWC] from every possible angle,” Breuer said. “These videos provide a quick snapshot of how all the different moving pieces work.”
Although the information covered in the three- to four-minute clips was previously available on the UWC website, putting the information in video format makes it accessible, said Corey Malone-Smolla ’16, a CCE who helped organize and participated in a video about UWC hearings. Rather than using technical language or legal jargon, the videos adopt a conversational, yet informational tone in approaching a highly complex topic, she added.
CCEs will use social media to publicize their new resource for students, rather than sending emails. In addition, CCEs set up tables and screens yesterday in Commons to share clips, hand out pamphlets and answer questions as students walked through the rotunda. The videos emulate advice being passed from one friend to another, Breuer said — so the CCEs wanted their publicity methods to reflect this notion of “sharing” as well, either on Facebook or other social media platforms.
“My hope for these videos is to see them disambiguate what can be an intimidating process,” said Amy Napleton ’14, a freshman counselor who explained the role of “fact finders” in one of the videos. “The more the campus understands about how sexual assault charges are handled, the more we can … improve campus culture.”
In addition to videos on the UWC process, CCEs released a set of videos that introduce several faculty members involved in the UWC, Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) Center, Title IX and Yale police. The videos offer students a sense of who the faculty members are and what roles they play in the process, Breuer said. Faculty profiled include UWC Chair Michael Della Rocca, SHARE Center Director Carole Goldberg and University Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Spangler.
Students in the videos were given the script a day prior to filming to rehearse their statements before going in front of the camera, Napleton said. The scripts were written by a group of CCEs to reflect information pertaining to the UWC and were later adjusted to ensure that the language felt natural, she added.
“Using a style and approach that feels like you are talking to a friend may make it emotionally easier to take in,” Malone-Smolla said.
This project fits into the broader CCE mission of promoting a positive sexual culture on campus through workshops and discussions. Although Malone-Smolla said the videos do not offer an opinion on the current state of Yale’s sexual climate, they offer objective information that can be of use to anyone. She added that she hopes other schools will see what Yale has done through these videos and apply them to their own campuses.
Napleton said that while the videos may not be the solution to all issues related to sexual misconduct, she believes they are comprehensive and have the potential to start a campus dialogue on the topic.
“It is an evolving process,” Breuer said. “What we say over and over again is that students totally control the culture of their campus.”
The CCEs are an application-only group of 40 undergraduates, directed by Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd ’90.