President’s Task Force on Sexual Violence Recommendations
(April 2015)

Short-Term Ideas and Recommendations

1. Create two standing committees to continue the work/discussion of this Task Force. One committee will oversee and spearhead implementation and enhancement of policy and follow up on state, federal and SUNY mandates. One of its charges is to take all necessary action to keep SUNY Plattsburgh up-to-date in its compliance efforts. Composition of this committee shall be representatives from student affairs, Title IX, faculty and student body.

A second committee shall be a broad-based committee comprising faculty across campus, staff and representative student groups. This committee will move the discussion contained in this document, the Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Sexual Violence, forward by reviewing recommendations, exploring feasibility, and developing a plan for implementation of short, medium and long-range ideas and recommendations. Suggested: This committee would report to the President, with Title IX officer serving as ex-officio member.

2. Grant authority to UP, Dir. of Student Conduct, and Title IX Coordinators to issue a “no contact order” as per mandate.
- Student Code of Conduct has been updated
- An official campus policy granting authority to do this is in progress (Executive Council will approve the policy)

3. Expand Resident Life staff training and programmatic offerings. In addition to the current training (which includes the Health Educator, policy review, and Behind Closed Doors Simulation Exercise) at the beginning of the semester, schedule additional training and in-services throughout the semester. 
i.    Should this be mandated or offered and encouraged?
ii.   What would be the content?
iii.  Logistical issues, including: When would these be offered; how many sessions would be mandated or offered; who would deliver content and how?
iv.  Would there be a need for additional funding?
v.   Incorporate appropriate pedagogy and content, such as issues of power and privilege, rape culture, etc. in Residence Life floor circles and other programs.

4. Identify and promote current courses (to incoming and ongoing students) across the curriculum that cover topics with significant content related to sexual violence. See # 26 under Long Term Recommendations.

5. Make the substantive changes about sexual violence and sexual harassment to the Student Conduct Manual (that students have to sign off on) more explicit to students each year. Explore ways to highlight them. Recommend that Director Student Conduct meet with student governance groups to do this. (focus on Policy)
i.   Need to ensure any changes in the Student Conduct Manual be applied/consistent in any supplemental documents student receive & sign (i.e. Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, etc.)
ii.  What are the logistics of doing this? Through what avenues would this be done (e.g. SA Senate, IFC, ISA, Student Athlete Advisory Council)?
iii. Consider ongoing educational efforts by Director of Student Conduct and other appropriate professionals to continue focus on policy updates and changes to student groups.

6. Raise awareness across campus to faculty and staff of policy changes concerning sexual violence, sexual harassment, and related issues across campus. Provide Student Affairs the opportunity to give updates and report to faculty forums as needed on new and important developments, mandates, and initiatives  (President’s Welcome at the beginning of the semester; Town Meetings or Planning Days, etc.).

7. Enhance the educational efforts to students concerning the role of drug/alcohol use/abuse and sexual violence education/prevention.

8. Provide counseling referral to formally accused students as an automatic step in the College response process. This would be done by UP, Title IX Coordinators, Director of Student Conduct. See #22 under Mid-range Recommendations.

9. Director of Student Conduct provide opportunity to all victims/reporters to review the judicial process.

10. Students charged with section 27.02, Sexual Violence will also be charged with Section 21.02, Sexual Harassment by appropriate authorities ( UP or Title IX Coordinators). -- Also, consider this for charges of section 27.03, Dating Violence and Domestic Violence.

11. Recommend that when a student has been charged with Section 27 or 21, Director of Student Conduct will meet directly, whenever possible, with the accused to review the outcome and have a broader discussion of the implications of the outcome, regardless of the outcome. For students found “not responsible” for a charge, Student Conduct Director will recommend that the student participate in appropriate training, counseling or other educational program to thereby maximize the opportunity for the student to change his/her behavior and understanding of the actions that brought about the accusation(s)/charge(s).

12. Consider playing training videos (a rotation of them) before the on-campus movies shown in the residence halls. Which videos? Who will be making/supplying them? Where are these shown?

13. Find ways to incentivize, encourage, attract student involvement and participation in building awareness and promoting educational efforts.

14. Consider ways (ongoing) that the offices of the President, the Provost, and the Deans can be used to underscore the importance of initiatives undertaken on campus by various offices and groups.

15. Consider how to assess the actions being implemented to determine impacts and outcomes.

16. Compliance with mandates for Branch Campus. Consider developing a We Comply module tailored for the Branch Campus as a short-term means of compliance.

17. Review Best Practices and Models from other campuses for more effectively addressing sexual violence prevention.

18. Training for Student Conduct Board--what ways to enhance this and to get stronger commitment from Board members? Include key professional staff (Title IX Coordinators, Advocates) in training of Student Conduct Board.

Medium-Term Ideas and Recommendations

19. Conduct research (including a survey if appropriate) to better understand the education/training needs of the population at the Branch Campus. Explore: Is the online We Comply module (to be developed--see #15) sufficient? Is something else needed?

20. Consider how to build the capacity of existing programs such as the GWS weekend course and Health Educator’s work to develop and implement a peer educator/training program that would enable broader and more frequent outreach. Explore feasibility of trained peers working with Health Educator in delivering the additional training for Residence Life and to the branch campus. Cultivate a sense of “ownership” of the program among peer educators.

20a. Incorporate peer trainers who have completed GWS 104  and other training (Sexual Assault Services and other off-campus training) in additional outreach efforts. Provide stipends for their work where appropriate.
 
20b. Increase the number of GWS 104 weekend courses per semester. (Including possibly offering the weekend course at the Branch campus sometimes?) Consider doing a special one credit course for various student populations. This would help expand this education to those most in need: Athletes, Greek Organization members, SA Clubs, etc.

20c. Continue to seek ways to support Health Educator and Residence Life in their work with fraternities and athletic teams. Step Up! program is one example.

20d. Explore ways to incentivize training and education programs—discounts at bookstore, early course registration, etc. instead of mandating training. Consider what incentives would reach heterosexual males and other populations that tend to be hard to reach.

21. Develop a robust victims’ advocacy program so that an advocate is available, should the victim/survivor choose, during all interactions with code and law enforcement officials, on and off campus.
— Who would be the advocates and how would they be trained?
— Explore relationship between campus and Sexual Assault Services, Stop Domestic Violence, and other community resources
— Engage interested student groups, such as Phi Alpha Lambda (Stan Sabin looked into this)
— How can Center for Student Involvement be involved?
— UP to open channels to City Police to start preliminary discussions about the potential role of victim advocates.

22. How should the needs and rights of the accused be addressed? What services ought be available? Counseling? Advisory? Should there be a point of contact, apart from the Director of Student Conduct, for information about the process and about other services and resources that are available to accused?
i.    Must ensure appropriate training and skills  of these individuals
ii.    Who would such people would be?
iii.    Will resources of PSU Counseling Service be included?
iv.    Consider the need to maintain safe-space for victims/survivors using Counseling Service in exploring these questions.

23. Incorporate a “caring ethos” toward victims/survivors to better support them.
i.    Provide adequate support and ongoing training for staff and volunteer participants.
ii.    Provide opportunities for training and raising awareness to faculty/staff across the campus.
iii.    Study the Victim’s Bill of Rights and consider ways to better support these.

24. Find ways to increase student participation and involvement at all appropriate levels of campus efforts to address sexual violence/harassment response and prevention more effectively.

25. Determine what resources would be needed to accomplish the recommendations listed above, including additional staffing.

Long-Term Ideas and Recommendations:

26. Consider existing models that highlight or would underscore the importance of addressing issues of sexual violence as educational issues and as a college/campus priority.
i.    An WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) model that encourages faculty to incorporate discussions about the issue of sexual violence as part of course material and that is sanctioned by the Faculty Senate.
ii.    An Associates model like the one currently in place for Canadian Studies and that was formerly in place for Womens Studies (as it used to be called).
iii.    Explore including a course on sexual violence as part of GE requirements for graduation.

27. Consider developing a program that offers a certificate in sexual violence prevention training. This would also provide a structure for highlighting courses across the curriculum with relevant and applicable content (see above #26) and would provide an incentive to students and community members. Where would this be housed (GWS?)?

28. Build our own on-line sexual violence prevention module instead of leasing one.
i.    What are the resources (monetary, staffing) needed?
ii.    Investigate feasibility if there is any interest in doing this.

Ongoing challenges Identified

1.  Victim Support
1a. Cultural prevalence of victim blaming—including how is this built-in to the system of reporting and
      adjudication?
1b. How do we make Victim’s Bill of Rights more meaningful in a system that is structurally biased towards victim      
      blaming. What can be done to mitigate the impact of this systemic bias? How do we begin to “ensure” victim’s  
      rights?
1c.  In the Code of Conduct, preponderance of evidence is the measure, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt that is
       required in a court of law. Nevertheless, public sentiment and concerns about the “presumption of innocence”   
       can conflict with victim’s rights and Victim’s Bill of Rights.
1d.   Maintain ongoing education and dialogue about sexual violence issues, including victims’/survivors’ rights.
        How to do this effectively and to engage individuals who are negatively predisposed to such dialogue.
1e. After a victim reports to the city police, there is the potential for a big gap—wait time between reporting and
      action being taken. Must be prepared to provide support for victims.

2.  Build Capacity
2a. Continue to promote strong training of members of Student Conduct Board and to foster a sense of commitment
      and professionalism.
2b. Recognize and support existing initiatives that seek cross-departmental involvement (e.g. the We Believe
      program).
2c. Develop campus structure to sustain a multi-pronged, longitudinal approach to changing the culture of sexual
      violence and the attitudes that sustain it.

3.  Defining and Refining
3a. What issues arise in making verbal consent an integral part of “consent”. How can these be addressed. Consult
      the literature about this, including best-practices, scholarly writing, and other commentary on this.
3b. Continuing assessment of policies and programs being implemented; routinely and effectively addressing gaps, loop-holes, and other issues that might render a program or policy less effective than intended.
3c. Avoid “silo-ing” of groups, departments, and offices across campus that are working on this. Keep lines of communication open and effective. Foster a campus-wide awareness and interest in the issues.

 

Contact Information

Butterfly Blaise
Title IX Coordinator
Office: Hawkins 151
Phone: (518) 564-3281
Email: Title.IX@plattsburgh.edu