Campus climate survey 2015-2016 results available here.

Campus climate survey 2014-2015 results available here.

 

nustudent affairs

Dear Members of the Northeastern community,

A top priority for Northeastern, and for colleges and universities across the country, remains enhancing efforts to prevent incidents of sexual violence.  From conducting proactive campus climate surveys to being the first higher education institution in Boston to execute a cooperation agreement with local law enforcement, Northeastern is a recognized leader in working to foster a safe and supportive campus community.

Earlier this year, we conducted our second annual university-wide campus climate survey. The survey gives us an opportunity to not only gauge students’ perception of prohibited sexual conduct, but also determine areas where the university can improve its educational, support, and response programs.

We are sharing the results of this survey now, early in the academic year, to raise the community’s awareness about the continued importance of our work in this area.

About 21 percent of undergraduate and graduate students responded to this voluntary and confidential survey. While that is a slight decrease from the first survey conducted last year, we remain encouraged by this response and are assured these results are a strong representation of the greater university community.

We continue to be heartened by the confidence and preparedness students show to help peers who are victims of sexual violence. In fact, more than 95 percent of respondents said they were likely or very likely to “assist a peer who is a victim of sexual assault.” Ninety-seven percent said they were likely or very likely to “support and encourage a peer to report an incident of sexual assault.” And some 93 percent of respondents said they would “intervene if they believed a peer might become a victim of sexual assault.” These rates mirror last year’s survey responses and demonstrate the effectiveness of the bystander training and other prevention initiatives recently implemented by the university.

For the first time this year, we directly asked students about incidents of sexual assault they experienced during their time at Northeastern. Transparency is paramount in openly addressing this vital issue. We encourage you to review the results of these questions.

While these incidence rates are lower than reported national averages from other (or different) campus climate surveys, they are nevertheless deeply concerning.  When it comes to unwanted sexual contact, we must have a policy of zero tolerance. These responses serve as a call to all members of our community to redouble our efforts to prevent sexual violence at every turn.

Some efforts already in place have yielded greater familiarity among students in regards to on-campus support. Between the first and second survey, we saw a 10 percent increase among respondents who strongly agree the university offers beneficial resources, including increased knowledge about the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, that housing arrangements and class schedules can be changed for victims of sexual violence, and that students generally feel safe on campus. But still, too many students are not aware of the various resources at their disposal so we must continue to get that information to them.

Using the feedback from the first survey, the university has made a large commitment to the enhancement of this work. We created new staff positions and established a resource center. We are committed to continuously reviewing our work and are engaged with students regarding the conduct process, including the use of the student conduct board by the Office for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Here are some of the steps we’ve taken in the last year as part of our continued work on this issue:

Office for Gender Equity and Compliance and Title IX coordinator

This new office was created last year and included a national search for a new Title IX coordinator. That search yielded Mark Jannoni, who joined the university in January to serve in the newly created position of assistant vice president for Title IX initiatives and Title IX coordinator.

ViSION Resource Center

The Violence Support, Intervention and Outreach Network (ViSION) has existed for the past five years as a way for students to access resources, support, and reporting options for sexual violence. Building upon its work, a space was designated to further these efforts. The ViSION Resource Center houses information about sexual violence resources and reporting options for students. It also serves as a central space for sexual violence prevention programming and dialogue.  The Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern (OPEN) provides staffing at the ViSION Resource Center in addition to coordinating student-focused education and programming, including a Northeastern-specific bystander intervention program.

Student education

All incoming students are required to complete an online and interactive interpersonal violence prevention program. This video-based program provides critical information about consent, bystander intervention, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and much more. [Students can access the program here: https://studentsuccess.org/SP/northeastern]  The discussion of Title IX compliance was enhanced during new student orientation and includes a Welcome Week performance-based presentation.

Faculty and staff education

All new faculty members receive Title IX training and we will launch an online, interactive training program for all faculty during this semester.  In addition, all new employees receive Title IX information at their orientation.  Staff training is on-going.

Available campus resources

Sexual violence is not tolerated at Northeastern. Incidents of sexual violence should be reported to the Northeastern University Police Department or the Office of Gender Equity and Compliance. In addition, the university provides victims with a number of on-campus and off-campus resources to facilitate access to immediate confidential medical care and counseling services, incident reporting, and access to legal counsel. Information on services and resources of campus and community partners targeting sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence, can be found on the ViSION webpage at www.northeastern.edu/vision. The university’s WeCare team is also available to provide academic and personal support.

Next survey 

Our third annual Campus Climate Survey is slated to be conducted in November-December 2016.

As we move forward, these new data points will help to build a more robust picture of how effective our educational and preventative measures are in addressing sexual violence. We are making impactful changes. But there are still challenges. Together, the entire campus community must work collaboratively and transparently to intensify outreach and programing.

Northeastern University will continue its commitment to fostering a safe environment free of all forms of harassment, where students, faculty, and staff alike should feel inspired and welcomed to realize their passions and dreams.

This work is the responsibility of each one of us and on behalf of the university, I ask for your participation in these community efforts. I invite anyone on campus to contact me personally at m.estabrook@northeastern.edu with any inquiry or question.

Sincerely,

 

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Madeleine Estabrook

Vice President for Student Affairs