Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
I write today to share two updates regarding our work to address and eradicate sexual assault and misconduct in our community: first, the launching of our Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate survey—which will open tomorrow for all students; and second, the submission of a formal comment to the Department of Education regarding new proposed Title IX regulations.
Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey
Tomorrow, February 1, we will launch our second university-wide Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey.
I urge all of our students to participate and to encourage your peers to also participate in this important activity for our University community.
Students will receive an individualized link from firstname.lastname@example.org tomorrow.
More than 7,900 Georgetown students participated in our first survey in 2016, giving our University one of the highest participation rates among the schools that participated in this national survey. We hope that our community will achieve this high level of participation again this year to ensure we engage the perspectives and experiences of as many students as possible.
This survey will allow 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. The survey results will allow us to assess the impact of recommendations and new programming implemented after our 2016 survey. Additionally, by joining with 32 other schools this year through a survey convened by the American Association of Universities (AAU) and administered by the research firm Westat, we will be able to compare data with that of peer institutions.
All degree-seeking students based in Washington, D.C., including those currently studying abroad, will receive an individualized link and further details on survey completion from Westat. This process ensures confidentiality. Please look for Westat emails to access the survey between February 1 - March 1, 2019.
Your participation is vital to building an environment in which all students can thrive on our campus as they engage in their academic and professional pursuits. Each response gives us important insights to strengthen our community here at Georgetown.
Proposed Title IX Regulations
In recent weeks, our community has been deeply engaged in reflecting on and responding to proposed regulations by the U.S. Department of Education that affect the responsibilities of universities in preventing and responding to sexual misconduct. I appreciate the many members of our community who participated in more than 10 dialogue sessions, which took place across all three of our Washington, D.C. campuses and at GU-Q in Qatar, and who offered comments through an anonymous feedback form—and helped inform our University’s response to the Department of Education. You can read more about our efforts and find our official comment here.
Georgetown has sustained a deep commitment to addressing issues of sexual misconduct and sexual assault for many years—from being one of the nation’s first institutions to hire a full-time sexual assault coordinator in 1997 to the establishment of working groups to address sexual assault more than a decade ago. As part of our ongoing commitment, Georgetown launched its first comprehensive climate survey on sexual assault and misconduct in January 2016. In June 2016, I announced the creation of a new Sexual Assault and Misconduct Task Force of students, faculty, and staff—informed with the results of the survey and charged with recommending sustainable long-term approaches and action steps in the prevention of and response to sexual misconduct. Since then, with the help of our Sexual Assault and Misconduct Advisory Committee (SAMAC), we have been hard at work implementing recommendations from the 70-member Task Force. With the support of our community, we have continuously pursued best practices in preventing and responding to misconduct. While our work is never done, we remain resolute in our commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming community for all of our students.
I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in our dialogue regarding these new regulations, all of our students who will participate in this important survey this month, and all those across our community who will help encourage students to participate. We look forward to sharing the results of the survey with our community later this year and to working together on the best ways to use this data to inform our future efforts.
John J. DeGioia