An Update on the Work of our Sexual Assault and Misconduct Task Force
Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
I’m writing today to provide an update on our University’s ongoing efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault and misconduct on our campus and invite you to a discussion forum (new window) led by our Sexual Assault and Misconduct Task Force co-chairs Rosemary Kilkenny, J.D. (L’87), Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, and Todd Olson, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs. The forum will take place on Tuesday, September 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the Social Room at our Healey Family Student Center.
Our University has been engaged in combating sexual assault and misconduct for many years (new window)—as part of our commitment to this work, we conducted our first comprehensive climate survey of students on sexual assault and misconduct last year. In June 2016, I wrote to share the results of the survey (new window)and announced the formation of a Sexual Assault and Misconduct Task Force, to be co-chaired by Rosemary Kilkenny, Todd Olson, and Olivia Hinerfeld (F’17).
Comprised of more than seventy members of our community, the Task Force worked throughout the 2016-2017 academic year and produced a thoughtful report (new window) recommending measures to help us deepen our understanding of why sexual assault and misconduct occurs on our campus, what further commitments we can make to address this problem, and how we can increase reporting, knowledge of resources, and trust in our policies and procedures. I wish to offer my profound gratitude to all the members of the Task Force—your work over the past year reflects an exemplary commitment to the well-being of our community.
We have already begun implementing a number of the recommendations from the Task Force Report, including the formation of a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) Team. This assembly of faculty, staff, and students will work both to lead our community’s work as we move forward on these recommendations and to regularly examine institutional and cultural factors that influence sexual misconduct on campus. The CCR Team will be co-chaired by Assistant Vice President for Student Health, Vince WinklerPrins, M.D., and our University’s Title IX Coordinator, Laura Cutway.
Also, new this fall, all of our first-year undergraduate students will receive a mandatory comprehensive bystander intervention education training called Bringing in the Bystander. Bystander intervention education training is a proven public health strategy that helps prevent and respond to sexual assault by equipping and empowering students to intervene in risky situations. Bringing in the Bystander was well-reviewed during its pilot phase this past year, and we look forward to introducing it to all of our incoming first year students this fall.
We will also support our students in student-run efforts and initiatives to foster an inclusive and respectful social culture—in the coming months, leaders across our university will be working closely with student leaders to assist in developing and supporting these initiatives.
In addition, and as recommended by the Task Force, we will be hiring a new staff member in Health Education Services to support both our ongoing clinical work and our education and outreach efforts related to sexual assault and misconduct.
These new efforts will further our ongoing work to prevent and respond to sexual assault and misconduct on campus. I wish to invite all those who may be interested in becoming more involved to sign up for our Campus Climate Volunteer Corp (new window)— initially created in June 2016, this growing group of students, staff, and faculty will support the work of the CCR Team and other campus sexual violence initiatives, play a vital role in raising awareness of this important issue, and will now receive monthly emails outlining campus activities related to our University’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.
I wish to once again express my appreciation to all the members of our community who have engaged this important issue with extraordinary thought and care—I am grateful for all you have done, and I look forward to continuing our work together in the time ahead. I very much hope you will be able to attend our discussion forum on Tuesday, September 12 (new window), and participate in our ongoing efforts by becoming a member of our Campus Climate Volunteer Corp (new window).
You have my very best wishes.
John J. DeGioia