Task force completes sexual misconduct assessment | UToledo News

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Task force completes sexual misconduct assessment

A task force created by President Sharon L. Gaber to review The University of Toledo’s practices and policies related to sexual assault awareness, prevention and adjudication and compare them to best practices at other universities has completed its assessment.

UT is among the safest campuses in Ohio with consistently low reports of sexual misconduct and has strong prevention programming and support services that meet or exceed those offered at peer institutions, according to the Sexual Assault Misconduct Assessment and Recommendations report produced by the task force.

The task force put together a list of 27 recommendations to enhance the programs and services available at the University to position the institution as a leader in the prevention and adjudication of sexual misconduct.

“The task force did a thorough review of the University’s practices and those of our peers to ensure we are providing the most effective prevention and support services for our students, faculty and staff when it comes to the issue of sexual misconduct, which unfortunately continues to be a concern on college campuses across the country,” Gaber said. “I look forward to working with the campus to implement the recommendations to ensure UT continues to be a safe and welcoming environment.”

UT’s resources in this area include a Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program; an Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Program; a University Counseling Center; a Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness; a partnership with YWCA HOPE Center; and a director of Title IX and compliance, who will now report to the vice president for student affairs to facilitate better communication and collaboration.

The Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention and Adjudication Task Force identified strengths, gaps in services, and ways to improve the delivery of services. The recommendations are focused on four themes: comprehensive university-wide efforts; prevention and programming efforts; resource availability; and investigation and adjudication.

Among the recommendations are:

• Create a Title IX committee to coordinate comprehensive implementation of programs and services across campus. The committee should be chaired by the director of Title IX and compliance.

• Ensure full implementation of University procedures that require incoming students to disclose criminal or student conduct complaints filed against them.

• Enhance alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention resources available to students, staff and faculty.

• Expand existing sexual misconduct prevention education required for first-year students to all students prior to the start of the academic year.

• Strengthen communication with targeted messaging that promotes a no tolerance climate for sexual misconduct and encourages students to report such acts.

• Diversify programs and resources and continuously evaluate them to ensure they are evidence-based and effectively reach all members of the campus community.

“The goal of our task force was to determine what we were doing well, what we can do better, and how to replicate evidence based-practices that other model programs have. We want to be a leader in the prevention of sexual misconduct,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, professor of public health and director of the UT Center for Health and Successful Living, who co-chaired the task force. “The recommendations put forth by the task force are a framework to plan future programs and services that help our campus continue to be a safe place for students, faculty and staff to attend classes and work.”

“Student safety is our top priority, and UT takes the issue of sexual misconduct very seriously,” said Valerie Walston, associate vice president for student affairs and director of residence life, who co-chaired the task force. “It is imperative that we offer our University community the educational programming needed for prevention and the best support services and resources needed to respond to this issue to keep our students, faculty and staff safe.”

To review the Sexual Misconduct Assessment and Recommendations, click here.

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