A AND TRAINING Brendan W. Clark ’21 Trinity

 

 

A
MEMORANDUM ADDRESSING TITLE IX SEXUAL ASSAULT

EDUCATION
AND TRAINING

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Brendan
W. Clark ’21

Trinity
College Public Policy & Law Department 245-01: Title IX: Changing Campus
Culture

11
December 2017

MEMORANDUM

TO: Timothy Dunn, Title IX Coordinator; Laura R. Lockwood,
Director, Women and Gender Resource Action Center

FROM: Brendan W. Clark ’21, Sexual Assault Education Committee,
Trinity College

SUBJECT: Title IX Sexual Assault Education and Training Recommendations

DATE: 11 December 2017

Executive
Summary

Regarding the matter of sexual assault
at Trinity College and other liberal arts institutions nationwide, the
imperative need to provide preventative educational programs is unquestioned.
Furthermore, Trinity College has—through a myriad of programs and published
correspondence—hitherto clearly asserted its position of preemptively
addressing sexual assault on campus. However, these actions notwithstanding,
there is always an opportunity for supplemental programming and revised methods
that can serve to ameliorate the continued preponderance of sexual assault at
Trinity. Ergo, this memorandum is a rejoinder of requests by this Committee
that student representatives generate missives conveying their conclusions on
the aforementioned question.

I.             
Sexual
Assault and Title IX Guidance

Sexual assault became enjoined to Title
IX of the United States Educational Amendments of 19721 in 2011 under the Obama
Administration. Hereafter, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil
Rights issued its “2011 Dear Colleague Letter,”2 which
prescribed the obligations that institutions of higher education are under
apropos investigation and resolving sexual assault claims. The Obama
Administration further sought to explicate and redress these concerns through
the establishment of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual
Assault,3 hereinafter
referred to as the “Task Force” in 2014, a working group delegated the
responsibility of evaluating the extent of sexual assault in both secondary and
higher education. This task force was largely a corollary of the publication of
Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call
to Action, an unprecedented document which revealed that “nearly 1 in 5
women has been raped in her lifetime” and that “98% of female and 93% of male rape
survivors report that their assailants were male.”4
With these affirmations at the federal level, the Obama Administration had the
impetus to pursue the creation of a myriad of academic programs targeted at
prevention-based education with respect to sexual assault.

The
Task Force produced a comprehensive educational program for secondary schools
under the appellation of a “Safe Place to Learn,” which served as a curriculum that
essayed to “create a school community committed to preventing discrimination
based on sex and its most extreme corollary, sexual violence.”5 However, the Obama
Administration beget no commensurate program developed by the Task Force for
higher education institutions; rather, the attention paid to higher education
was largely codified within the 2011 Guidance Letter6 and the subsequent 2014 Questions
and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence.7 Further, within this plethora
of guidance were explicit instructions regarding education that institutions
are obligated to proffer to both students and faculty, namely: providing “training
to all employees likely to witness or receive reports of sexual violence”8 and considering “educational
methods that are most likely to help students retain information when designing
its training.”9
The Department’s counsel notwithstanding, the lack of a substantive framework
has required institutions to identify and retain the programs of private entities
in order to efficaciously satisfy their obligations under Title IX.

II.           
The Importance of Preventative Sexual Assault Programming

Education has been
recognized as necessary towards preventing the inimical continuity of sexual
assault; moreover, early preventative education has clearly impacted not only
increased reporting rates but also evinces reduced rates of sexual assault.10 Indeed, the Obama
Administration concluded that “ongoing prevention, education, and training
programs for students—from freshman orientation through graduate school—are critical
for imparting skills to students.”11 Further, academic research
avers that an “increasing awareness of the school policies and reporting
regulations have helped to increase reporting,” elucidating that the need for
sound educational practice has a tangible impact regarding the reduction of
sexual assault on college campuses.12 In addition, research
suggests that the type of program, namely one which emphasizes bystander intervention
and the deleterious effects of alcohol, are the most efficacious in reducing
incidents of assault.13                                                                                                 Moreover, the rates of sexual
assault reporting oftentimes reveal a corollary with educational programming at
institutions of higher education issued concurrently with a myriad of other
programs. Indeed, DeGue contends that educational efforts “complement and work
in tandem with other important work focused on risk reduction, criminal justice,
recidivism prevention, and victim services.”14 Further, continued preventative
education issued with great frequency has been shown to drastically reduce the occurrence
of sexual assault on college campuses, with some estimations by the Department
of Justice estimating that many programs “reported significant desired changes
in attitudes concerning dating aggression, knowledge of myths about abuse of
women, and behavioral intentions in hypothetical conflict situations.”15 Clearly, so climacteric
is preventative education for sexual assault that it has been promoted both
within academia and also within government agencies.

III.        
Sexual Assault Education Programs at Trinity College

At Trinity College,
considerable resources have been appropriated for the purpose of mitigating incidences
of sexual assault. One of Trinity’s foundational programs is the film “Not
Anymore,” a program of Student Success, which has dedicated itself to “providing
violence prevention programming” to institutions of higher education.16 Not Anymore at Trinity is
presented to first-year students, who must view a video and engage with several
educational modules during the summer; moreover, failure to complete the
program results in the curtailment of academic enrollment privileges.17 Thereafter, first-year
students are again imbibed with information relating to sexual assault in their
mandatory attendance at the “Speak About It” dramatic presentation during
first-year orientation.18 Together, these programs
make up the education that first-year students receive over the course of their
arrival at Trinity.

            Further,
education does take place, albeit in lesser amounts, at higher grade levels
principally through voluntary involvement in various campus organizations and
communities. In their sophomore year, students receive mandatory bystander
intervention training from the Women and Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC).
Further, students who seek membership in a Greek social life organizations and
those who are members of Trinity-sanctioned sports teams are also required to attend
trainings from WGRAC. The aforementioned programs are also offered to any
organization or entity affiliated with the college that requests training.19 Moreover, WGRAC proffers a
myriad of programs whose intent is to inculcate proper education for students,
specifically: Take Back the Night, the Vagina Monologues, and Voices Raised in
Power. Each of these programs represents further opportunities for educational
outreach to students and are also largely student-driven educational
initiatives; however, they are not compulsory and, therefore, their message may
not always carry appreciable efficacy.

            Whereas
Trinity College has clearly continued to make efforts in recent years to
address the pervasiveness of sexual assault on campus, the issue remains an
endemic one due largely to a lack of financial resources and programming at recurrent
intervals. Indeed, without mandatory educational programming per annum, there is
a marked increase in the likelihood that invaluable information will not be
retained by students, ergo, increasing program frequency is imperative.20 Furthermore, without the dedication
of requisite financial resources, the effectuation of new programs will remain
an impossibility, thereby further restricting educational initiatives.

1 20 U.S.C.
§§1681-1688; 34 C.F.R. pt. 106.

2 Russlynn H. Ali, “Dear Colleague” Letter, U.S. Department
of Education, April 4, 2011, (hereinafter “2011 Letter”).  

3 Memorandum from the
Office of President Barrack H. Obama (January 22, 2014) (on file with the
Office of the Press Secretary).

4 The White House
Council on Women and Girls, Executive Office of the Vice President, Rape and
Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action (January 2014).

5 U.S. Department of
Education, Office of the Secretary, “Safe Place to Learn” Implementation Guide
(2016).  

6 Ibid., 1.

7 Catherine E. Lhamon,
Questions and Answers on Title IX and
Sexual Violence Letter, U.S. Department of Education, April 29, 2014,
(hereinafter “2014 Letter”).

8 Lhamon, Questions and Answers, 38.

9 Lhamon, Questions
and Answers, 41.

10 Tovia Smith, “To Prevent Sexual Assault, Schools and
Parents Start Lessons Early,” National
Public Radio, August 6, 2016 (transcript of radio broadcast).

11 White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual
Assault, Executive Office of the President, Preventing and Addressing Campus
Sexual Misconduct: A Guide for University and College Presidents, Chancellors,
and Senior Administrators (January 2017).

12 P.P. McMahon, “Sexual Violence on the College Campuses: A Template for Compliance with Federal Policy,” Journal of American College Health 57, no. 3 (2008): 361-365.

13 Nicole Westmarland &
Jennifer S. Alderson, “The Health, Mental-Health, and Well-Being Benefits of
Rape Crisis Counseling,” Journal of
Interpersonal Violence, 28, (2013): 3265-3282.

14 The Centers for Disease Control, Division of Violence
Prevention, Preventing Sexual Violence on College Campuses: Lessons from Research
and Practice (April 2014).

15 Christine Wekerle and David A. Wolfe, “Dating
Violence in Mid-Adolescence: Theory, Significance, and Emerging Prevention
Initiatives, Clinical Psychology Review, 19
(4) (1999): 435-456 quoted in Jennifer Hardison et al., An Evidence-Based Review of Sexual Assault Preventative Intervention
Programs (Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, September 2004).

16 “Company,” Student Success, last modified 2016, https://title9.studentsuccess.org/company/.

17 “Not Anymore: Sexual Assault Education and
Prevention,” Trinity College, http://www.trincoll.edu/StudentLife/NewStudents/Pages/NotAnymore.aspx.

18 “About,” Speak About
It, last modified 2016, http://speakaboutitonline.com/about/.

19 Adrienne Fulco and
Laura R. Lockwood, “Title IX: Changing Campus Culture” (lecture, Trinity
College, Hartford, CT, December 7, 2017).

20 McMahon, “Sexual
Violence on College Campuses,” 362.