Sexual Assault Resources

Title IX Training and Education

Emerson College is committed to developing best practices to respond to and prevent sexual assault.

Since 2011, in an effort to strengthen its sexual assault processes, the College has initiated Title IX training and education for the campus community. The following timeline outlines TITLE IX updates and initiatives.

what emerson is doing to prevent and respond to sexual assault

The College has announced a bold, comprehensive new program designed to enhance this community’s ability to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct and violence in five key areas:

  • Providing care and support to the survivors of sexual assault and other forms of power-based violence
  • Preventing sexual assaults through education
  • Adjudicating complaints of sexual assault
  • Enhanced training for faculty, staff, and students
  • Conducting biennial campus climate surveys

Recommendations are taken from the Sexual Assault Task Force and Margolis Healy & Associates, and should be viewed as forward looking.

Our new approach is forward-leaning: we are implementing emerging best practices and standards in the area of preventing and responding to sexual assault. Our new program will serve as a model for other colleges and universities.

2014

  • March 2014
    • March 7, 2014 - Emerson releases a formal policy for the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act.
    • March 12, 2014 - Emerson College staff and administrators attend the Forum on Education Abroad and NACUA Workshop: U.S. Legislation Packs a Suitcase: The Clery Act, Title IX, VAWA, and Related Obligations for Education Abroad.
    • March 17, 2014 - Appointed Dr. Melanie Matson to the position of Director of Violence Prevention and Response/Sexual Assault Response Advocate.
    • March 18 and 19, 2014 - Emerson College holds open forums for students, staff, and faculty that are administered by representatives from Margolis Healy & Associates as part of their independent assessment and review of Emerson College's practices as related to the Clery Act, Title IX, and sexual assault. The purpose of the forums is for representatives from MHA to learn more about the culture and climate of Emerson directly from the students, staff, and faculty.
  • April 30, 2014
    • President Lee Pelton sends community email regarding sexual assault prevention and response, and updates on the independent review conducted by Margolis Healy & Associates and the internal Sexual Assault Task Force.
  • May 1, 2014
    • Dr. Melanie Matson joins Emerson as Director of Violence Prevention & Response/Sexual Assault Response Advocate.
    • College launches Office of Violence Prevention & Response.
  • May 9, 2014 – Sexual Assault Task Force chaired by Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, and Dr. Lori Beth Way, Senior Advisor for Undergraduate Education, submit Report of Recommendations to President Pelton. 
  • June 25, 2014 – Dr. Lee Pelton writes a Letter to the Emerson Community Regarding Alleged Draft of OCR Complaint
  • July 2014
    • July 13–July 17, 2014 - Emerson representatives attend Dartmouth College's Summit on Sexual Assault – a national conference on sexual assault prevention, education, and response. Attendees from Emerson include: Melanie Matson, sexual assault response advocate; Robert Smith, chief, Emerson College Police Department; Dr. Sylvia Spears, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion.
    • July 24, 2014  Dr. Sylvia Spears convenes Title IX Implementation team.
  • August 2014 – Searches launched for: Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, reporting to Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, and Survivor Advocate reporting to Dr. Melanie Matson, Director of Violence Prevention & Response.
  • September 2, 2014
    • President Pelton releases letter to Emerson Community.
    • College publishes comprehensive policy on Sexual Misconduct and new adjudication processes for cases involving sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
    • Role created for a professional investigator to conduct investigations of cases involving sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
    • College establishes Deputy Title IX faculty and staff Coordinators, who will serve as liaisons to the various campus units and work collaboratively with the Title IX Coordinator to review policies and practices for effectiveness. All deputies will receive appropriate training.
    • College creates a Title IX Team that includes the Title IX Coordinator, the deputies, the Director of Violence Prevention and Response, the Dean of Students, the Chief of Emerson College Police, and other College staff. This group will work to ensure that systems and processes are working efficiently. The Director of the Office of Violence Prevention and Response retains responsibility for the provision of direct services to survivors.

2013

  • January 2013
    • Established Title IX investigator debrief meetings to discuss learning opportunities and best practices based on actual case experience. Work continued through May 2013.
  • April 23, 2013
    • The President’s Office in partnership with the Emerson Stopping Sexual Assault student group, hosted a panel discussion on campus, which focused on preventing sexual assault. The panel included students from Emerson College and Tufts University as well as a prominent community leader on the issue, and a member of the President's Office.
  • May 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 work continued throughout the summer of 2013. The internal review was announced in an email to the community by Emerson College President Lee Pelton in March 2013. Based on recent Office for 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 brochure entitled, Sexual Assault: Information for Men and Women 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 information 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 a more robust web presence entitled, Creating a Culture of Consent 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.
  • June 26, 2013 – Title IX Investigation Webinar: Interviewing the Complainant
    • Attendees: Blaine Butler (Human Resources), Kimberly Marcella and Erin Brennan (Athletics)
  • September 2013
    • Title IX Investigator Training
    • Attendees: Title IX coordinator, student conduct coordinator, student orientation leader, representatives from Human Resources, Athletics, Office of Housing and Residence Life, and the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)—Mike Arno, Erin Brennan, Kimberly Marcella, Candace Carter-Smalley, Mary Dowdell, Takara Larson, Dave Haden, Alexa Jackson, Betsy Facher-Rauch.
    • Title IX/BARCC Training
    • Attendess: Title IX coordinator, Human Resources contractor, representatives of Office of Housing and Residence Life, and Office of Counseling and Psychological Services—Alexa Jackson, Mary Dowdell, Dave Haden, Mike Arno, Elise Harrison.
    • In-house Title IX Investigator Training for Emerson Los Angeles (ELA), a new facility for the College’s L.A.-based internship study program opening in January 2014.
  • October 2013
    • Title IX Workshop for Career Services (Title IX Responsibility and Mandatory Reporting) and Internship Coordinator Workshop
    • October 8, 2013 - Emerson learns that students have filed an OCR complaint via media coverage.
    • October 9, 2013 - President Lee Pelton issues a letter to students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents on the subject of sexual assault and Title IX compliance. The letter highlights new initiatives in process, and announces a search for a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate, as well as an internal review of the College’s current responses to student reports of sexual assaults.
      • The internal review will be led 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 March 2014.
    • October 17, 2013 - President Pelton invites the community to attend a town hall meeting to be held on Monday, October 21 in the Cutler Majestic to begin a dialogue about the College’s response to sexual assaults.
    • October 21, 2013

2012

  • March 56, 2012 –Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), Title IX Investigator Training, DC

    Attendees: Title IX coordinator, student conduct coordinator, representatives from Human Resources, Athletics, Office of Student Life, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion—Tikesha Morgan, Michael Arno, Blaine Butler, Kim Marcella, Erin Brennan, Gloria Noronha, Alexa Jackson.

  • March 2012
    • Associate VP, Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator Alexa Jackson worked with Dean of Students (and staff), ECPD, ECAPS, LA to establish reporting protocol
  • September 2012
    • Revised anti-harassment policy to create one Policy for the College and include Title IX compliance, reporting, and process.
    • Updated the College’s website to ensure resource information, Title IX compliance, and the anti-harassment policy could be searched in “one click,” which is considered best practice.
    • Work continued through the fall of 2012.
  • November 8, 2012
    • Senior Advisor to Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Education Professor Lori Beth Way makes a presentation to the College’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that included a segment on debunking commonly held myths regarding sexual assaults.

2011

  • April 2011 – Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sends letter to colleges and universities outlining obligations and provides guidelines under Title IX—a federal civil rights law—to prevent and respond to issues related to campus sexual assault.
  • October 17 – 20, 2011 – Campus Title IX Coordinator Training and Certification Course
    Attendee: Associate VP, Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator Alexa Jackson.
  • November 16, 2011 – Title IX Webinar
    • Attendees/Invitees: Title IX coordinator, members of the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD), representatives from Human Resources, Emerson College Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS), Office of Student Life, Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)—Alexa Jackson, Kim Marcella, Tikeisha Morgan, Blaine Butler, Gloria Noronha, Scott Bornstein, Erin Brennan, George Noonan, Alma Pellecer, Cheryl Rosenthal, Betsy Facher-Rauch, Eric Schiazza