On Valentine’s Day morning, the receiving area of the Syracuse University Bookstore in the lower level of the Schine Student Center was bustling. Fruit baskets lined one shelf. Other shelves held large bags called the Valentine’s Snack Attack—filled with cookies,…
Sexual and Relationship Violence Task Force Provides Update to Campus Community on Key Progress, Achievements
The Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence concluded its second year of work at Syracuse University. The 30-member task force, appointed by Chancellor Syverud in spring of 2015, focused throughout the 2016-17 academic year on key recommendations that emerged from the group’s work during its inaugural year. In particular, the task force focused on identifying and implementing improvements in sexual violence prevention, education and advocacy services.
“We had a very productive year, especially in terms of information gathering on protocols and best practices,” says task force co-chair Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, interim senior associate vice president and dean of enrollment and the student experience. “That information, along with the expertise shared by those who work on the front lines of this issue on a daily basis, will be a great help as we work to formulate best policies and procedures for assuring a safe and respectful campus for all.”
In its year-end 2016-17 report, the task force reported several key activities and updates. They include:
- A recommendation calling for appropriate training for faculty and staff to better facilitate a cultural change “from the ground up and the top down.” The recommendation emerged in response to the Campus Climate Assessment survey, which cited the importance of ensuring faculty and staff have appropriate training to talk with and offer support to students who might have experienced sexual assault.
- A presentation by Susan Pasco, associate director of the Counseling Center, on the American College Health Association and her participation in a task force focused on sexual and relationship violence. The ACHA task force has created a tool kit that will assist campuses, including Syracuse, with several aspects of the problem, including management, advocacy resources, defining best practices for prevention, risk reduction and response.
- A presentation on Title IX compliance by Deborah Osgood, a national expert on civil rights laws and regulations that govern educational institutions.
- A meeting with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler to discuss working together more proactively. In a related session, Syracuse University Chief of Public Safety Bobby Maldonado also clarified for the group the role of the Department of Public Safety and the Syracuse Police Department in handling student sexual assault complaints.
- Continued efforts to enhance awareness of prevention strategies and resources and to solicit feedback on how to improve the campus climate and culture relating to sexual and relationship violence.
In June, Diane Lyden Murphy, dean of the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, joined the task force as co-chair, replacing Joanna Masingila, who stepped down as chair at the end of the academic year. Masingila, dean of the School of Education, had served along with Kantrowitz as co-chair of the task force since its inception in 2015. Kantrowitz will continue to serve as co-chair with Murphy.
“Sexual and relationship violence is a scourge that affects every campus in the country today,” says Murphy. “It’s an issue that really requires a campuswide cultural change, and this task force has begun laying the foundation for that change. Dean Masingila has done a great job co-leading this effort these last two years, and I look forward to continuing that progress in the year ahead.”
The group also set several goals for the 2017-18 academic year, including the following:
- Explore ways to continue support for the Office of Health Promotion.
- Involve more men and male student-athletes in prevention, educational and outreach efforts.
- Identify outreach and education events and services that have been successful in the past and build on them.
- Explore the possibility of the University hosting a statewide conference on sexual violence.
- Continue collaborating with the Syracuse Police Department.
To learn more about the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence, visit http://inclusion.syr.edu/srv/chancellors-task-force/.