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AAU report highlights university initiatives to combat sexual misconduct

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Nancy Seideman

The Association of American Universities (AAU), an association of 62 leading research universities, including Emory, published this week a data-rich report on the actions its members are taking to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual misconduct on their campuses.

The report, based on the results of a new survey, shows that AAU universities are making significant improvements, and devoting substantial resources, to their efforts to address the issue.

Over the past two years, under the auspices of the University Senate Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Violence, Emory has completed and reported findings from two comprehensive surveys, the first on student experience and attitudes regarding sexual violence, and a similar survey to explore faculty and staff members’ perspectives of workplace climate and knowledge of sex discrimination policies. 

Results from the surveys have provided the university with data to develop comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to greatly reduce sexual violence within the Emory community.

“Emory consistently works to improve ways to measure the effectiveness of policies, programs and interventions related to the prevention of sexual violence, says Vice Provost Lynell Cadray, whose Office of Equity and Inclusion oversees compliance with Title IX and other federal policies related to equal opportunity/affirmative action. 

“Most recently, Emory has instituted mandatory education/advocacy training on the topic of sexual violence prevention for all faculty, staff and students; increased our data collection and monitoring of policies and procedures; and focused on creating a comprehensive, university-wide approach to addressing the issue," she notes. 

Some key findings of the new AAU report include:

  • Over the last three academic years, all 55 institutions that responded to the survey have developed, redefined or enhanced programs to assist victims of sexual assault and misconduct.
  • 100 percent of responding institutions have surveyed students on issues related to sexual assault and misconduct at least once since 2013.
  • 87 percent (48/55) of responding institutions indicated that surveys or data from surveys stimulated new or changed existing conversations with students about sexual assault and misconduct.
  • Over the last three academic years, 100 percent of responding institutions have changed or are in the process of changing their education and training for students and faculty.
  • Over the last three academic years, 84 percent  (46/55) of institutions have developed new programs, education, or interventions for specific student populations or types of students.

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