BACKGROUND AND PROCESS
When Karen Hater became Interim Dean of Student Affairs in July, 2008, one of the first actions taken was to restructure the Behavioral Intervention Team, now known as the “Care Team”. This is a multidisciplinary team that meets weekly to identify and assist students at risk. The members of the team include the Dean of Student Affairs, the Director of Athletics, the Director of Campus Security, the Director of Community Standards and Responsibility, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, the Director of the Student Health Center, the Director of First Year Programs and the Director of Residential Life. During the first few months of fall, the issue of sexual assault on our campus became a recurring issue, especially for first year students. The Care Team determined that a task force should review our policies and procedures related to sexual assault and explore educational programming for all students.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime (2000). Sexual assault is an extreme form of sexual harassment, which includes rape and other forms of sexual abuse like forcible fondling. While some women (and men) arrive to college having experienced sexual violence, victimization, and assault, about 3% of women report surviving rape or attempted rape in a typical academic year (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). Due to issues with sexual assault on college campuses, national movements and groups like One in Four and legislation like the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights have become part of ongoing efforts to address this pervasive problem. The complex nature of this problem makes it necessary to engage in a multi-faceted approach including prevention, education, intervention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery.
Parents, communities, and the media have often focused on “stranger danger” and protection from unknown perpetrators; however, college environments must address the harsher reality that 84% of all assaults are committed by an acquaintance (FBI, 2000). While students may be targeted at any time during their college career, the most critical time seems to be in the adjustment to college as a first-year student. Issues with unfamiliarity with surroundings, new friends, fitting in, and alcohol only heighten the vulnerability and chances that someone will be a victim of sexual assault. Other factors, like the presence of fraternities and sports teams, also increase the issues with sexual violence and victimization.
Successful primary prevention of sexual violence requires recognition of the problem at all levels of campus leadership and efforts to prevent sexual violence must be comprehensive and multifaceted. With this purpose in mind, Karen Hater, Dean of Student Affairs, created a task force in November, 2008 which was composed of individuals representing a variety of constituencies on campus. The members of the Sexual Assault Task Force included:
Karen Hater, Dean of Student Affairs
Joanne Vogel, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services
Diane Willingham, Director of Community Standards and Responsibility
Paula Raha, Nurse Practitioner in Health Services
Kenneth Miller, Director of Campus Security
Maria Martinez, Assistant VP Human Resources and Risk Management
Kimberly Dennis, Faculty
Joseph Siry, Faculty
Meghan Harte, Director of Explorations
Mario D’Amato, Faculty
Shannon Frey, Student
Frankie Mastrangelo, Student
Matthew Hirschbiel, Student
Justin Grill, Student
Shealyn Fuller, Student
B. PURPOSE AND GOALS:
The purpose of the task force was to review the policies and procedures on sexual assault and harassment, revise those policies and procedures as needed, and to make recommendations for comprehensive change strategies with the ultimate goal of creating a living and learning environment free of sexual violence.
Goals/outcomes of the task force:
1. Assure policies related to sexual assault/ harassment are consistent across the College
2. Design an effective protocol/procedure for sexual assault victims
3. Develop a plan to publicize this protocol to the entire campus community
4. Develop educational/outreach programming
5. Create a report of the task force findings for the President and his senior staff
1. Agreed on a definition of sexual assault
2. Used the 4W2H Root Cause Analysis Tool to define the problem and its effects on the Rollins’ community
3. Reviewed present policies and made changes for consistency
4. Designed a College protocol for victims of sexual assault
5. Developed a plan to publish and announce protocols
6. Developed a comprehensive educational/outreach program for prevention
D. DEFINITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT:
Sexual assault is physical contact of a sexual nature without clear, voluntary, intelligent, or knowing consent. In the state of Florida, sexual assault is legally referred to as sexual battery and is defined in Florida State Statute 794.011 as “any oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.” Individuals cannot give permission or consent if they are obviously incapacitated by any drug or intoxicant. They cannot give consent if they are unaware, unconscious, asleep, or physically or mentally unable to communicate non-consent. Furthermore, individuals cannot be forced, threatened, coerced, or deceived into giving consent, which may be especially pertinent in disciplinary or supervisory relationships.
E. 4 W2H DEFINITION OF PROBLEM AND EFFECTS AT ROLLINS:
*Who? One out of six women on campus may be sexually assaulted. (There are limitations to this information due to reported vs. non reported assaults and use of anecdotal evidence.) Mainly, these assaults occur between students but some peer outsiders as well.
*What are the factors associated with assault? The task force brainstormed a number of factors with the number one factor being alcohol use. National studies indicate that up to 75% of all sexual assaults involve alcohol. Anecdotal evidence at Rollins indicates that all sexual assaults that were reported involved alcohol. The remaining factors were drugs, privilege/entitlement, lack of education, innocent/naive, social attitudes (being popular), gender roles, self-esteem, cultural norms, media, and freedom.
*What are the effects? The effects across campus included: students missing classes, STDs/STIs, pregnancy/Plan B, sexuality and health concerns, silencing, retention issues and staff time.
*Where are sexual assaults occurring? They are occurring in the residence halls and residence hall organizations as well as in off campus housing.