The Department of Education has made clear that colleges and universities have a legal and moral obligation to protect their students on their campuses.Vice President Joe Biden at the University of Pittsburgh
Across the country, colleges and universities are prioritizing school safety by developing programs to prevent and respond to sexual assault, both on and off their campuses. Studies consistently show that 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual assault while in college in the United States, so the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Last month I participated, alongside colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Education, and Department of Justice, in the National Center for Campus Public Safety’s (NCCPS) training on Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication, developed in response to a call to action from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
In my conference remarks, I walked participants through the mission and work products of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. In this blog post, I will do the same.
Established by the President in 2014, the Task Force produced Not Alone, a report on Federal activities and resources to address campus sexual assault. After 27 listening sessions with stakeholders across the country, the report provided recommendations for schools to prevent and respond to sexual assault. Through this process, the Task Force charged NCCPS with developing a curriculum on trauma-informed sexual assault investigations and adjudications. The NCCPS curriculum and other Task Force deliverables offer trauma-informed resources and best practices for schools to implement effective sexual assault misconduct policies and promote safe and healthy environments for students to grow and learn.
In addition to these resources, we have also developed a student mobilization campaign. In September 2014, President Obama and Vice President Biden unveiled It’s On Us, a campaign to engage all college students, and especially young men and bystanders, in preventing sexual assault. This campaign grew out of meetings convened by the Vice President with sports leagues, media, college-age groups, and others to identify messaging that would resonate with millennials. “Get men involved” was the overwhelming message heard. And so the It’s On Us campaign was born as a rallying cry to reframe the conversation surrounding sexual assault, with the goal of inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent sexual assault. Since its inception, It’s On Us has engaged approximately 600 colleges and universities, and nearly 350,000 people have signed the It’s On Us Pledge, committing to standing up against sexual assault.
Over the past two years, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and its component federal agencies have produced guidance, model policies and procedures, training and technical assistance resources, funding opportunities, and public messaging materials concerning sexual assault in educational spaces. Many of these resources can be found in our 2015 Resource Guide, and include:
Training & Technical Assistance
Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures
Community Partnerships and Memoranda of Understanding
Resource Guide for Title IX coordinators
Campus Climate Surveys
Campus Police Resources
Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool
The NCCPS Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication curriculum builds on a meaningful foundation of knowledge and practice that the Obama-Biden Administration has established – bringing the importance of preventing and responding to sexual assault to the forefront. As schools gear up for the next school year, I look forward to seeing how the training and techniques presented in this training are adopted and utilized in different college environments, to ensure safety for all.