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New Letter and Guide for College and University Leadership on Campus Sexual Assault

January 05 2017

Cover of Second White House Task Force Report on Sexual Misconduct
Download the report.
Today, January 5, 2017, Vice President Joe Biden released a call to action letter (PDF) for college and university presidents, chancellors, and senior administrators regarding their moral and legal responsibility to combat sexual violence on their campuses beginning with changing campus culture. Biden reinforced the troubling numbers facing students on campuses nationwide: 1 in every 5 women will experience rape or sexual assault. "And for female transgender and bisexual students, it's even worse: 1 in 4 transgender students experience sexual assault in college. For bisexual students, it's 1 in 3."

Biden commended those senior officials who have taken action, but pointed out that many continue not to address the current epidemic and insisted they have "an obligation to stand up, to speak out, to foster the safest and most inclusive environment possible for every student that walks onto your campuses." 

Biden requested that the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault develop a planning guide specifically for senior leadership to address sexual assault on campus. Preventing and Addressing Campus Sexual Misconduct: A Guide for University and College Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators (PDF) focuses on six key elements that institutions of higher education (IHEs) may want to consider as part of a comprehensive plan to address sexual violence on campus. The guide overall is neither exhaustive not exclusive according to the Task Force, and each IHE should consider their own unique challenges and characteristics before launching or revising a plan to address sexual assault and misconduct.

The six elements outlined in the plan include:

  1. Coordinated Campus and Community Response
  2. Prevention and Education
  3. Policy Development and Implementation
  4. Reporting Options, Advocacy, and Support Services
  5. Climate Surveys, Performance Measurement, and Evaluation
  6. Transparency

IHEs are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel to ensure any plan meets all elements required by state and/or federal law. Ultimately, the Task Force has learned, since their initial report in 2014, that "when thoughtful and sensible tools for preventing and improving responses to sexual misconduct are made available, many colleges and universities eagerly embrace them to better protect their own students."

In addition, The Second Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault (PDF) was released today. It discusses the accomplishments since the Task Force's creation in January 2014. We look forward to sharing more on this report in our January 11, 2017 Weekly Snapshot.


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