A total of 81 complaints of sexual misconduct were reported to the University between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, according to the University’s semiannual report from the Office of the Provost.
The report, released Wednesday, indicates a decrease in the number of complaints from the last report, when sexual misconduct complaints hit an all-time high of 88. The reports have been released biannually since January 2012.
“We aspire ultimately to have no reported complaints, but only if and when the campus is entirely free of sexual misconduct,” said Stephanie Spangler, the University Title IX coordinator and deputy provost. “Until that time, we hope that the semiannual reports and other information we provide, along with the all-important support of the community, will encourage those impacted by sexual misconduct to make use of our resources and procedures.”
In her introduction to the report, Spangler noted that though it is challenging to discern trends, her office observed “a sustained increase” in the number of complaints brought to the University since the release of results of the 2015 Association of American Universities Sexual Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. According to the AAU survey, 16.1 percent of Yale students experienced an attempted or completed assault since arriving on campus — a figure that University President Peter Salovey labeled “extremely disturbing” at the time.
Of the 81 complaints, 23 fell under the category of sexual assault, 42 under sexual harassment and another 16 constituted intimate partner violence, stalking or “other.” Sixty-one complaints were made to Yale’s office of the Title IX coordinator, while six were made to the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. The remaining 14 complaints were made to the Yale Police Department. Some of the complaints, the report stated, ended up being filed to more than one of these departments, but they were still only counted once in the report and listed under the area which “primarily addressed the complaint.”
The report also said that the three agencies collaborated to respond to the complaints — for example, any complaint brought to the YPD was also reviewed by the Title IX coordinator.
After working with a Title IX coordinator, 11 people declined to pursue a formal complaint for sexual harassment, sexual assault or stalking, and 10 complaints are currently awaiting the UWC’s decision.
“While the recent increase in reporting is encouraging and likely the result of heightened community awareness, the results of the [AAU survey] indicate that there remain significant numbers of individuals in our community who do not seek support from University resources,” Spangler wrote in the introduction to the report. “We must therefore continue to identify and address barriers to reporting.”
In order to do that, Spangler wrote, the Title IX office will update the list of “hypothetical case scenarios” — potential sexual misconduct cases and the UWC’s hypothetical decision on each — with more cases and will make changes to the Sexual Misconduct Response website to make the information more accessible and understandable for the community.
Spangler also mentioned that the level of community engagement after the release of the AAU survey has risen and that the University’s schools and departments continuously introduce more initiatives “aimed at identifying and impacting factors that influence local culture.”
The Communication and Consent Educators are among the University’s efforts to improve the sexual climate on campus and reduce the incident of sexual misconduct. Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd ’90 said CCEs are often able to serve as liaisons in helping those who have experienced sexual misconduct use University resources.