Since 2011, Emerson has been actively engaged in developing best practices, including Title IX training and education to address the issue of sexual assault, which impacts colleges and universities nationwide.
Following are highlights of the most recent action steps:
May through September 2013
In spring 2013, Emerson initiated a review of its sexual assault materials and programs as well as its protocols and services for student survivors. The internal review was announced in an email to the community from President Lee Pelton in March 2013. Based on recent Office of Civil Rights (OCR) guidelines as it pertains to sexual harassment under Title IX legislation and Emerson’s internal review, the College determined there were programmatic and protocol areas that required further attention and implemented the following:
- Revised the Sexual Assault: Information for Men and Women brochure to include more substantive sections to help students better understand the meaning of consent and how to be an effective bystander as well as resource for students attending our external programs. Hard copies of the brochure were disseminated to all new undergraduate and graduate students during fall 2013 Orientation, and all students, faculty and staff received an electronic copy.
- Created a pamphlet entitled, Sexual Assault Survivor Guide: Options and Resources, a support resource provided to sexual assault survivors for easy reference.
- Developed "Creating a Culture of Consent," a more robust web presence that provides valuable information related to preventing sexual assault from occurring and options and resources for survivors of sexual assault.
- Launched two poster campaigns—one to heighten awareness about the concept of consent, and a second that provides students with resource information for survivors of sexual assault.
- Held Resident Assistant facilitated floor meetings on the concept of consent with resident students.
- Emerson’s Counseling and Psychological Services therapists and Center for Health and Wellness clinicians participated in an advanced sexual assault training session facilitated by Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).
- Incorporated new programming elements during Orientation to more fully educate our newest students about what constitutes consensual sexual activity.
- Increased the number of Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) officers certified to teach Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) courses from one (1) to five (5).
- Strengthened sexual assault response training modules for residence life staff and enhanced training for those individuals that serve as Title IX investigators and on conduct hearing boards.
- Title IX Investigator Training (attendees listed here).
- Title IX/BARCC Training (attendees listed here)
- In-house Title IX Investigator Training for Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA), a new facility for the College’s L.A.-based internship study program, which opened in January 2014
- Title IX Workshop for Career Services (Title IX Responsibility and Mandatory Reporting) and Internship Coordinator Workshop
- The College began its search for a newly created position: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate.
Hired Margolis Healy & Associates, a professional services firm specializing in campus safety, security, and regulatory compliance for higher education and K-12, to conduct an external and independent review of the College’s Title IX and Clery Act policies, procedures, and practices related to reports of sexual assault.
Before the Fall 2014 Term
- The College appointed Dr. Melanie Matson to serve in the newly created position of Director of Violence Prevention and Response/Sexual Assault Response Advocate. She will provide advocacy and support for students who have experienced sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. The director will also lead the College’s prevention and education efforts related to sexual assault.
- Independent review by Dr. Sylvia Spears, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor Lori Beth Way, senior advisor to Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Education. They will review Emerson’s sexual assault programs as well as best practices at other colleges and universities, and report their findings and recommendations by Summer 2014.
- A comprehensive review of the College’s policies, procedures, and practices related to Title IX and related laws by Margolis Healy & Associates, a professional services firm specializing in campus safety, security, and regulatory compliance for higher education and K-12. The independent reviewers will work with the internal review team co-chaired by Dr. Sylvia Spears and Professor Lori Beth Way, who will be focused on the College’s current prevention, education, and training programs, as well as advocacy and support services for students who report they have been subjected to sexual misconduct.