As the academic year winds to a close, I wanted to update our community on the remarkable work of the students, faculty and staff on the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Task Force.
Last summer, Tufts added two new members to our team to work exclusively with our students on this important issue – Alexandra Donovan as Tufts’ Sexual Misconduct Prevention Specialist and Nandi Bynoe as Tufts’ Sexual Misconduct Resource Specialist. In addition to enhancing existing Tufts resources to prevent and address sexual misconduct, they have taken a leadership role in the working groups of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Task Force.
Alexandra has been working closely with the members of the Prevention and Education Working Group to ensure that every student across Tufts has access to quality sexual misconduct prevention education and training programs. The working group is focused on four areas: orientation, athletics, Greek life, and bystander intervention. Members of the working group recruited students to work within their communities to promote education and awareness activities and collaborated with the Greek life community to train the campus chapters on bystander training, healthy sexuality and respectful communication.
The new student orientation included a more comprehensive training structure to raise awareness of sexual misconduct. Incoming students attended “Speak About It” during Orientation Week and an Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) policy session during the fall semester. The Haven online training was mandatory for incoming freshmen as well as available to upper classes. Other programs focused on dorm life and the social life at Tufts.
These educational programs complement the OEO training offered to faculty and staff at the undergraduate and graduate schools across Tufts’ three campuses.
April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month and there have been a number of opportunities for students and staff to get involved.
Nandi Bynoe worked with students on the Support and Resources Working Group to update the Sexual Misconduct Resources website. The website is being re-organized to be more user-friendly and informative. Rolling out in the next few weeks will be a student-developed Survivors Guide that will provide key information for support persons as well as survivors. Nandi is a resource to all Tufts students who are seeking support or information on a range of issues.
The Policy and Procedures Working Group has completed revisions to Tufts’ Sexual Misconduct Policy, and efforts are well underway on review of the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process (SMAP). This has been a time-consuming project and should be completed in the fall semester. The revised Sexual Misconduct Policy, incorporating the edits of this working group, is currently available at http://oeo.tufts.edu/policies-and-procedures/sexual-misconduct-policy/.
On April 13th, the Tufts Attitudes about Sexual Conduct Survey (TASCS) was sent to the entire student community. This is the first time that we have asked our student community to identify concerns about climate, culture and other aspects of campus life that contribute to sexual misconduct. We hope that the survey will help us to provide even better resources to support student survivors and enhance our response and prevention efforts around sexual misconduct. We hope that all students take the opportunity to complete the survey that will be available until May 8th. We will compile results of the survey over the summer and provide that information to our community in the fall. The TASCS was a collaborative effort of the Task Force members and the University’s Office for Institutional Research and Evaluation.
Finally, I want to thank each and every member of the Task Force for their extraordinary dedication and offer a special note of appreciation to the seniors who will be graduating in a few weeks. Their collective commitment to addressing sexual misconduct has truly made a difference in our community. While there is more work ahead, we would not have made the progress to date without the incredible support of our students working together with our faculty and staff.