Fact Sheet: Summary of Georgetown University’s
Ongoing Work to Address Sexual Assault and Misconduct
Georgetown addresses the issue of sexual assault and misconduct through a combination of educational programs, policies, and resources that we are constantly working to enhance.
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 of sexual assault and misconduct has long been a part of this.
We have had staff focused on sexual assault and misconduct issues for more than a decade, with a full-time Sexual Assault Coordinator (now called “Associate Director, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Services”) since 2007 and a part-time Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Liaison at the Law Center since 2009.
We have developed educational programs to address issues of sexual assault and misconduct and relationship violence, which are delivered throughout the academic year in various settings.
Our Sexual Assault Working Group (SAWG) comprised of students, faculty, and administrators, has worked on an ongoing basis for more than a decade to improve policies, services for students and educational outreach.
University policies and codes of conduct address expectations and consequences related to sexual assault and misconduct.
In keeping with our commitment to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and misconduct, support survivors, and provide fair and equitable processes and procedures, we have added and strengthened many of our programs, resources, and policies.
Enhanced Training and Education:
- New Student Orientation: Health Education Services produces the New Student Orientation Play, HoyaRealTalk, which has been mandatory for first-year students for decades. Each year the play is re-written, and for the past two years the sexual assault and misconduct content in the Play has been strengthened and enhanced.
- I Am Ready: Launched in 2014 and developed with students, the “I Am Ready” program is now a mandatory part of New Student Orientation. This program includes small group peer discussions about issues related to sexual assault and misconduct, including consent and resources and is conducted by trained student facilitators.
- Are You Ready (formerly R U Ready) celebrated its 13th year in 2015. This well-known Georgetown program is held in the fall and involves bringing a speaker to campus to share her/his story as a survivor, followed by small group discussions (reflecting on content from the speaker, resources and how to help a friend) led by trained peer facilitators.
- Think About It (for undergraduates): Launched in Fall 2013, Think About It is a required online tutorial for undergraduate students that focuses on both alcohol, healthy relationships, and sexual assault and misconduct. This new program was developed by a Jesuit university and is now used by dozens of institutions.
- Think About It Booster: In March 2015, we began offering undergraduate students a “booster” course to the Think About It online training program. All students who previously participated in the Think About It program were incentivized to take a booster aimed at reinforcing the lessons learned from the original program.
- Think About It (for graduate students): A new online training program covers the topics of sexual assault and misconduct and harassment specifically in the graduate student context, and was launched for all graduate students and professional students on main campus, the Law Center, the School of Continuing Studies, and School of Medicine in March 2016.
- Respect (for faculty and staff): In addition to ongoing live trainings for groups of faculty and staff, in February 2015 we launched a mandatory online training program entitled “Respect: Preventing Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.” All new faculty and staff are required to take this course.
- Enhanced Training for University Investigators and Hearing Boards: The Office of Student Conduct hosts an annual, all-day training for our Title IX team, including our investigators, hearing board members, and Deputy Title IX Coordinators. The training focuses both on trauma-informed techniques for investigating and adjudicating sexual misconduct cases, as well as how to conduct an investigation and hearing that is fair and equitable to all parties involved.
Ongoing Awareness Campaigns:
- Increased Communication: Early in the fall 2014 semester, President DeGioia sent a letter to the entire University community emphasizing the importance of educating and engaging our community on the issue of sexual assault and misconduct, summarizing the University’s approach and highlighting the role that each member of the University community plays in preventing and responding to sexual misconduct. The Executive Vice Presidents, head of Human Resources, and Vice President of Institutional Diversity/then-Title IX Coordinator followed up with letters detailing the specific responsibilities of faculty and staff, and the Vice President for Student Affairs sent a letter to all students detailing resources and encouraging students to actively work to create a climate where sexual assault and misconduct is unacceptable. In addition, as part of the “It’s On Us” campaign, Athletics Director Lee Reed sent a communication to all student-athletes reminding them of ways in which each member of the community can play a part in creating a safe environment, including information on resources for students.
- Healthy Masculinity Campus Conversation: In March 2015, Georgetown’s Health Education Services department partnered with Men Can Stop Rape and collaborated with students to launch Georgetown’s first annual Healthy Masculinity conversation. The event was well attended and geared at attracting new voices to the conversation and engaging in meaningful conversation about issues surrounding how we define healthy masculinity and the identities of men as allies and survivors.
- Annual Sexual Assault Forum: Beginning in 2014, and each year since, students have organized a conversation with senior administrators each April to discuss issues relating to sexual misconduct. Students ask questions related to training and education, the adjudication process, and resources. The dialogue is geared at offering transparency and clarity for students on issues relating to Georgetown’s response to sexual misconduct.
- Peer Educators: Health Education Services oversees the Sexual Assault Peer Educators (SAPE). SAPE is a peer education program that seeks to address and respond to the issue of sexual assault and misconduct on Georgetown’s campus. Through peer-facilitated discussion, training, and education, SAPE creates a shared responsibility to be active bystanders and challenge rape culture through creating a survivor-centric environment. SAPE operates with a flat structure and has approximately 50 members. SAPE offers 5 curriculum areas: Sexual Assault 101, Consent, Healthy Relationships, Street Harassment, and Bystander Intervention. Additionally, a subset of SAPErs are trained to facilitate the One Love Foundation video-based workshop on relationship violence. In 2015-2016, SAPE facilitated dialogue for student organizations, academic classes, social groups, and Athletics. SAPE is active in the community and has participated in campus events including Sip with SAPE (both fall and spring), Activism is… photo campaign, #BreaktheStigma, Denim Day, and the Sexual Assault Awareness Health Hut.
- Tailored Education: SAPE has developed tailored programming to meet the needs of community subgroups. This is implemented through strong campus partnerships and liaison programs.
- Take Back the Night (TBTN): During Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), TBTN hosts a series of events in collaboration with campus partners to raise awareness around sexual assault and misconduct by encouraging dialogue, tabling to promote resources, and educational programming. In its history, TBTN, offered these events over a week’s timespan. In 2016 TBTN hosted and co-hosted events over a two week time period. Campus partners included: Health Education Services, SAPE, The Women’s Center, Yates, and Lecture Fund.
- Comprehensive Website: We have developed a comprehensive web presence on sexual assault and misconduct, by creating sexualassault.georgetown.edu, which serves as a one-stop shop for information on policies, resources, how to report, and how to seek help. This website will continue to be updated to ensure ease of use and to reflect best practices in sharing important information.
Policies and Procedures:
- New Policy: In February of 2014, we announced a new campus-wide policy on sexual misconduct, incorporating new legal requirements and national best practices.
- Changes in Student Conduct Process: We also frequently review our conduct and adjudicating policies related to sexual misconduct and update them as necessary to assure a fair, streamlined, efficient, and transparent process for all parties involved. In the Fall 2014 semester, we began using an expert investigator to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct and compile investigatory reports for use by hearing panels in sexual misconduct cases. In addition, we have begun using closed circuit video technology during sexual misconduct hearings so that complainants and respondents can hear and see each other, but do not need to be in the same room at the same time.
- Help for Students Navigating University Processes: Georgetown has many trained staff members available to help students navigate the University’s sexual misconduct processes. In addition to the University’s Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, who provide information and assistance to all parties involved in sexual misconduct cases, complainants in these cases can also seek assistance from confidential counselors in Health Education Services, and respondents (those accused of sexual misconduct) can be paired with “Process Navigators,” staff members trained to assure that respondents have clear information and support on how the student conduct process works.
Added Resources and Staffing:
- Full-Time Title IX Coordinator: Georgetown’s Vice President for Institutional Diversity & Equity has long served as the University’s Title IX Coordinator. In January 2016, we hired the University’s first dedicated full-time Title IX Coordinator to coordinate Georgetown’s prevention, educational and response efforts and oversee compliance with Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act.
- Additional Staff Clinician: In the Fall 2014 semester, we added a new additional full-time confidential staff clinician to the Health Education Services department. The staff provides confidential counseling and crisis services to survivors of sexual assault and misconduct and develops and engages in educational programs with students.
- Title IX Investigator: In Fall 2015, we hired a full-time Title IX investigator, to ensure prompt and equitable investigation of sexual misconduct cases.
- Deputy Title IX Coordinators: We have appointed Deputy Title IX Coordinators on each campus to serve as a helpful resource for students, to coordinate training, and to oversee a prompt and effective response to incidents as they arise.
Recent GUSA/Administration Collaboration for 2015-2016 Academic Year:
The University partnered with the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) on multiple issues related to sexual assault and misconduct prevention and response.
- Bystander Intervention Programming: Stemming from a working group established in 2015 and based on a need further supported by the results of the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey, undergraduate student leaders will attend a mandatory Bystander Intervention Workshop during their fall semester. As we work toward a community that is free from sexual violence, Georgetown recognizes the importance of ALL Hoyas being a part of the solution. Bystander Intervention Training works to prevent and combat incidents or possible incidents of sexual violence on campus by teaching individuals how to safely intervene in situations where an incident may be occurring or where there could be risk. This training will assist students in defining what a bystander is, identifying inappropriate behaviors or interactions that may call for bystander intervention, and locating resources for others on whose behalf they intervene. The training will use a combination of real life case study, role plays, and open group discussion that will ensure participants feel comfortable and confident in their ability to engage in safe and effective bystander intervention. It will teach students the ABCs of intervention, instructing participants to Assess for safety, Be with others, and Care for Victim.
In addition, beyond skills for intervening at a direct level, participants will also be able to explore the kinds of behaviors and belief structures that allow sexual violence to stay hidden and survivors to be silenced.
- Additional Clarity on University Resources and Processes: Administrators worked with students to enhance the sexualassault.georgetown.edu website to make it more user-friendly and accessible, put stickers in bathrooms on campus identifying resources for students, and added emergency contact information for campus and community resources such as CAPS and crisis hotlines on student GoCards. A new mini-brochure on resources was developed to assist survivors and those in the campus community who assist them. Also, per the request of student leaders, the Office of Student Conduct added interpretive guidance to the definition of “relationship violence” in order to further clarify the types of abuse covered by the code.
- Free Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) for survivors and those accused of sexual assault: Beginning in April 2016, CAPS now offers a semester’s worth of free appointments to all survivors of sexual assault and misconduct and to those accused of sexual assault and misconduct.
- Consistent with Department of Education guidance and the White House’s “Not Alone” campaign, Georgetown in Spring 2016 conducted its first campus climate survey on the prevalence of sexual assault and misconduct and student perceptions and attitudes on the issue. After a successful marketing campaign, the survey garnered a 51% response rate, one of the highest participation rates in the country. The survey results will be used to help inform our policies and practices for preventing and responding to sexual assault and misconduct within the Georgetown community.
- SART Team: In 2015, GUPD established a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which is now staffed with more than a dozen officers who are specially trained to handle cases of sexual assault and misconduct in a caring and supportive manner. These officers undergo more than 40 hours of specialized training, including presentations from on campus resources, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program, representatives from the Network for Victim Recovery DC, and MPD sexual assault officers.