Summary of Georgetown University’s Recent Enhancements and Ongoing Work to Address Sexual Assault and Misconduct
Georgetown addresses the issue of sexual misconduct through a combination of educational programs, policies, and resources that are constantly being enhanced. Georgetown has a long history of providing a “safety net” of health professionals, response mechanisms, and services to support students who are struggling with complex personal issues. Supporting survivors/victims of sexual misconduct has long been a part of this network. Georgetown has developed educational programs to address issues of sexual misconduct and these programs are delivered throughout the academic year in various settings. University policies and codes of conduct address expectations and consequences related to sexual misconduct.
Georgetown has had staffing focused on sexual misconduct issues for more than two decades, with a full-time Sexual Assault Coordinator (now “Director of Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Services”) since 1997 and a part-time Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Liaison at the Law Center since 2009. Georgetown has seven Deputy Title IX Coordinators, including deputies for undergraduate main campus students, graduate students, the Law Center, the School of Medicine, the School of Continuing Studies, faculty and staff, and Georgetown University in Qatar, who support both survivors/victims of sexual misconduct and those accused. Deputies are responsible for responding to alleged incidents of sexual misconduct and ensuring the safety of individuals and the campus community. The Sexual Assault Working Group, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, worked on an ongoing basis for more than two decades to improve policies, review services for students, and promote educational outreach.
COMMITTEE AND TEAM WORK
Sexual Assault and Misconduct Advisory Committee (SAMAC): The committee was created in Fall 2017 to be the primary University-wide body to regularly examine institutional, cultural, and systemic factors that influence sexual misconduct on campus and to oversee the implementation of the eleven recommendations made by the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Task Force to the President in 2017 after the University’s first-ever climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct. This group of students, faculty, and staff met biweekly for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years and focused their work on a number of projects including an accountability mechanism for mandatory bystander intervention training, a student-led sober intervenor program, enhanced training for GUPD, programming for marginalized student populations, feedback mechanisms for specific offices, recommended syllabus language for faculty, and the establishment of a Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) expected to launch in fall 2019.
2019 Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey: In Spring 2019, the University launched its second Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey along with 32 other schools convened by the Association of American Universities (AAU). The survey was distributed to the entire student population (not including the Georgetown University-Qatar campus). The survey allows us to examine the prevalence and incidence of sexual assault in our community, attitudes among students about our campus climate, and knowledge and awareness of available university resources. To promote participation, the University sponsored a marketing and email campaign that lasted for the survey’s five-week duration. The results will enable the University to assess the impact of recommendations and new programming implemented after the first student-wide survey distributed in 2016. The University’s overall response rate was 51% in 2016. The results of the Spring 2019 survey were released in Fall 2019.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
Mini Sexual Misconduct Awareness Campaign: Beginning in Fall 2016, as students return to campus each fall, they arrive to posters, flyers, sandwich boards, and digital screens highlighting data from the 2016 Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey and relevant resources.
“How to Get Help” Document: In Spring 2017, the Office of Strategic Communications and the Office of Title IX Compliance created a comprehensive guide to accessing support on and off campus for main campus students. The front side of this document is designed as a tool to help a student navigate the resources available, and the reverse side shares detailed information about all of the resources. This guide also clarifies which roles on campus are confidential, semi-confidential, and non-confidential. This document serves as a starting reference point if a student is unsure what supports are available (or needed) and how to access them.
Title IX Office Hours: Starting in Spring 2017, the Office of Title IX Compliance began hosting office hours in student spaces and through partnerships with student organizations and affiliate offices.The goal was to raise awareness about the Office of Title IX Compliance and to offer an opportunity for students to get to know the University’s Title IX Coordinator and the University’s Title IX Investigator in a comfortable environment.
Mandatory Bystander Intervention Training: Beginning in Fall 2017, a five-hour bystander intervention training entitled Bringing in the Bystander was required for all incoming first year undergraduate and transfer students. Led by Health Education Services, bystander intervention training combats sexual misconduct by teaching individuals how to identify risky situations and ways to safely intervene. This program garnered over a 94 percent completion rate for the 2017-2018 academic year. With a new registration hold in place for any student who failed to complete the requirement, 99.83% of undergraduates completed the training in the 2018-2019 academic year.
Mandatory Online Education: All undergraduate, transfer, and students in the graduate and law schools are required to complete mandatory sexual assault and misconduct online education. For undergraduates, this requirement also includes the mandatory five-hour, in-person bystander training course. In 2018, more than 94.7 percent of required graduate students were in compliance.
Additional Training for Main Campus Faculty: Throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, the Interim Title IX Coordinator visited approximately 20 faculty departments to lead trainings on being a mandatory reporter and answer questions about what happens when a report is made to the Office of Title IX Compliance, as well as provided information about the resources and supports available for members of the community, including students, faculty, and staff.
Additional Training for Georgetown University Police Department’s Sexual Assault Response Team: GUPD currently has 10 SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Officers on staff with an additional 7 expected to join by the end of October 2019. In Spring 2018, GUPD’s SART officers completed a two-day offsite training hosted by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, which focused on responding to sexual assault and trauma on college campuses. In July 2019, all GUPD officers completed a four-hour sexual assault response training during their annual in-service training. GUPD will also implement a new SART Refresher and a new SART Officer training during the fall 2019 semester.
In addition, two GUPD officers have completed a 40-hour Forensic Experiential Trauma Interviewing (FETI) training and will complete additional practical training. About half of GUPD officers have also completed a 40-hour Crisis Intervention training.
New Confidential Staff Clinician: The University hired an additional Staff Clinician and Sexual Assault Specialist within Health Education Services in spring 2018. This person was responsible for providing both direct clinical services and educational outreach with a particular focus on supporting students from historically marginalized backgrounds. This Clinician left the University after the fall 2018 semester, and there is currently an ongoing search to fill the open position.
New Title IX Coordinator: Laura Cutway, the University’s Title IX Coordinator beginning in January 2016, left the University in June 2018. Samantha Berner, the University’s Title IX Investigator, served as the Interim Title IX Coordinator, and after a competitive national search, Berner was appointed as the new Title IX Coordinator and Director of Title IX Compliance, effective July 2019.
Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Website: A new Title IX website was created and launched during the Spring 2017 semester. This new website houses the existing sexual misconduct website, Title IX contacts (including pictures of the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, and the University’s Title IX Investigator), and a new online portal to provide anonymous feedback to the Office of Title IX Compliance. Students and administrators also worked to fully update and streamline the existing sexual misconduct website to be more user and mobile friendly, including a complete reorganization of materials and new information for students studying abroad.
Online Resource Center: Georgetown launched an online comprehensive resource center to support those individuals who have experienced or know someone who is a survivor/victim of sexual misconduct. This tool provides information about the on and off-campus resources available to Main Campus students. The Online Resource Center, launched in Spring 2018, can be accessed by mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
Online Title IX Reporting: New in Spring 2018, an online reporting option was implemented so students, faculty, and staff can more easily report concerns or alleged incidents related to sexual misconduct to the Office of Title IX Compliance. Such reporting helps ensure that survivors/victims of sexual misconduct understand their options and are made aware of available supports and resources. Reporting also helps the University monitor trends and patterns to more effectively prevent and respond to sexual misconduct and promote a safe campus environment. Reporting online allows community members to report in a comfortable and safe space when they are ready to share.
POLICY AND PROCESSES
Title IX Reporting Requirement Update for Campus Ministry: During Spring 2017, the Office of Campus Ministry updated their confidentiality and Title IX reporting requirements for all Campus Ministry staff to help ensure that this office is a safe place for students choosing to disclose an incident of sexual misconduct. Clergy (Brahmachari, Father, Iman, Rabbi, or Reverend), acting in their pastoral roles, are still considered fully confidential. All other Campus Ministry chaplains and staff are now designated semi-confidential (previously they were responsible employees with a Title IX reporting obligation), meaning they will not report any identifiable information to the Office of Title IX Compliance and thus, students that disclose information will not receive outreach from the University’s Title IX Coordinator or a deputy. Campus Ministry staff have been trained on how to respond to disclosures and what materials to provide a survivor/victim.