UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COMMITTEE ON CAMPUS CLIMATE FINAL REPORT

(The associated UI news release can be viewed at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2003/october/102403climate-release.html)

SEPTEMBER 30, 2003

Members:

Prof. Jennifer Glass, Department of Sociology, Committee Chair

Wayne Angel, Women’s Cross Country Coach, University Athletic Department

Michelle Choe, Student, College of Law

Sam Cochran, Director, University Counseling Service

Nick Herbold, Student, President of UISG

Judie Hermsen, Assistant Director, University Human Resources

Prof. Peter Nathan, Dept. of Psychology and College of Public Health

Prof. Judy Polumbaum, School of Journalism and Mass Communication and UI Human Rights Committee

Carissa Swanstrom, Student and UI Human Rights Committee

Jan Waterhouse, Compliance Officer, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and Chair, UI Human Rights Committee

ex officio:

Monique DiCarlo, Director, Women’s Resource and Action Center

Peter Hubbard, Senior Assistant Director, Academic Programs and Services, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Karla Miller, Executive Director, Rape Victim’s Advocacy Program

Charlotte Westerhaus, Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity

CAMPUS CLIMATE COMMITTEE FINAL REPORT

Table of Contents

CHARGE TO CAMPUS CLIMATE COMMITTEE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

Part I. Trends from Interview Data

Part II. Response to Charge #1

A. Leadership Campaign to Promote Knowledge of Policies

B. Specific suggestions/recommendations

Part III. Response to Charge #2

A. 1993 Sexual Harassment Survey replication

-recommendation

B. Education and Prevention within the University community

-recommendations

C. Alcohol Abuse Discussion

-recommendations

D. User-friendly Reporting System Discussion

-recommendations

E. Enforcement Discussion

-recommendations

Part IV. Response to Charge #3

A. discussion of possible special event lectures or workshops

1. Commentator, or performer to discuss sexual assault with entire campus
community/UI Lecture Committee will sponsor

2.Coordinate a possible campus event or speaker with the Spring Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Part V. Conclusions

LIST OF APPENDICES

CHARGE TO CAMPUS CLIMATE COMMITTEE

February 24, 2003

Goal: The goal of the committee’s work is to examine the campus climate regarding issues of personal safety and freedom from harassment and assault.

Through its policies on personal harassment and violence, the University states unequivocally its values. These policies are among the strongest on campuses around the country. Recent events have given the University an opportunity to reevaluate the way it responds to violations of these policies. The details of the response are just one measure of whether our campus climate is a welcoming one for all members of the community, including women and people of color.

Although appropriate policies exist and appear, in general, to be operating well, we need to insure that every member of the campus community knows how to get help when it appears that the policies may have been violated. Furthermore, we must do all we can to encourage individuals to conduct themselves in ways that reflect the values embodied in the policies.

Specific Charges:

The committee is charged to make recommendations concerning:

1. How best to communicate the existence and details of existing policies.

2. What training, resource development or other measures may be necessary, in addition to those presently available, to reduce assault and harassment on campus and to fairly deal with alleged victims and offenders.

3. Whether the campus could benefit from a series of campus-wide discussions, or perhaps a conference, to fully air issues raised by recent cases, and other important factors.

Summary: Through a careful reevaluation of the methods by which our campus policies are communicated, and otherwise exploring the climate for victims of assault and harassment, it is hoped that the committee’s work will promote trust, healing, and growth within the campus community.

Note: This report is divided into two sections. The Executive Summary is first, which sets forth the Campus Climate Committee’s recommendations in abridged and concise manner. Next, the report provides a comprehensive and in-depth account of all the information the Committee gathered and used as the foundation for its recommendations.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Campus Climate Committee was convened at the University of Iowa by Interim President Willard Boyd in March 2003 for the purpose of investigating ways to better communicate and uphold the University’s policies on sexual harassment and violence. The Committee contained appointees from all the major constituencies on campus: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, University Athletics, counseling services, and advocacy services for women: Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) and Rape Victim Advocacy Program RVAP).

The Climate Committee met throughout the remainder of the spring semester of 2003, focusing on collecting information from key administrative officers on both the scope of the problem of communication and accountability within their areas of responsibility, and possible solutions that could be implemented effectively in their unit. We also obtained information on the systems used by several other CIC institutions to educate members of their campus communities and to enforce their policies. On the basis of the Committee’s review of the information collected, we offer the following core recommendations to raise awareness of the University of Iowa’s policies on sexual harassment and violence among all members of the campus community, and ultimately reduce the incidence of harassment and violence on campus.

Our recommendations are divided into four areas: (1) Administrative Leadership and Training, (2) Raising Education and Awareness within the University Community, (3) Collaborating with External Constituencies, and (4) Improving and Enforcing Policies and Procedures.

1. The President and other senior administrators should set the standards and expectations for communicating and upholding the University’s policies on sexual harassment and violence.

A. The President should send a letter to the parents of incoming freshmen students, prior to the beginning of the fall semester, advising the parents of the University’s policies relating to alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual harassment, and violence, and the consequences for behavior in violation of those policies. The letter should also advise parents on the steps they can take to prepare their sons and daughters to act responsibly.

B. The University should notify all faculty, students, and staff annually about the policies on sexual harassment and violence, as it does for workplace drugs and alcohol by federal mandate. The President of the University could send a letter and/or email each fall to all faculty, staff, and students reminding all community members of the importance of following these University policies, and providing information about resources available to bring complaints or obtain more information.

C. All Academic and Administrative Officers, as defined by university policy, should receive training when they assume their position at the University and at regular intervals thereafter. The President should issue directive invitations to all new AAOs to attend training each year. The training should cover both general education about what behavior constitutes sexual harassment and violence, as well as the specific procedures to be followed under the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment. AAOs should receive posters, magnets, buttons, etc. with information about sexual harassment and violence to display in their units. Academic and Administrative Officers should have a magnet to post in their office that lists the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity’s website URL. It is vital that these mandatory reporters have immediate access to information that will help them assess the victim’s safety issues and proceed in a timely manner with university process.

D. Academic and Administrative Officers, especially Deans of instructional units, should be encouraged to provide orientation programs annually for new faculty and teaching assistants that include information on the University’s Sexual Harassment and Violence Policies.

2. A variety of research and educational efforts should be implemented to raise awareness about what constitutes sexual harassment and violence under our policies, involving various departments and organizations and using a variety of marketing and media techniques

A. The University of Iowa should replicate the Campus Survey on Sexual Harassment (or a similar survey) which was last performed in 1993. Without information on the large number of units within the University, it is difficult to target resources where they would be most effective in reducing sexual harassment and violence.

B. The University should create a poster or poster series with an appealing design and pertinent information about what constitutes sexual harassment and violence, and what resources exist to assist victims. The University of Illinois has a free poster series that could be used or slightly modified for this campus. The University could use existing academic departments (marketing, design, etc.) to sponsor a poster contest to generate new displays. Posters should be disseminated for display on campus bulletin boards, restrooms, and the Cambus.

C. The University of Iowa should create and disseminate maps of the campus and downtown area with sexual harassment/assault information on the back to assist in creating familiarity with the community and with resources available to victims. Maps and other handout information should include where to report an assault or case of harassment, explain the steps involved in a campus investigation through the use of a flow chart, include information about the informal resolution of complaints, and provide information about retaliation protection.

D. The University should provide mechanisms to educate students about sexual harassment and violence, specifically targeting first year students. Examples include:

1. The coordinator of the required first year Rhetoric course may be able to integrate knowledge of University sexual harassment and violence policies into curriculum; the University could provide seed money for the development of curricular materials for this purpose.

2. Sexual harassment, assault, alcohol awareness, and safety issues could be incorporated into the current College Transition course or similar courses; with the University providing seed money for development of curricular materials for this purpose.

3. An online training program for students could be designed (based on the "Online at Iowa" concept) covering issues of sexual harassment, assault, alcohol awareness, local/state laws, and safety issues. Program could contain scenarios to evaluate to determine whether specific behavior is or is not sexual harassment, as well as specifics related to the University’s policies (e.g., does the behavior have to occur on campus). Students could be required to complete the program and would earn one credit for completion.

4. Students could receive the same one-hour panel orientation program that parents currently receive that includes representatives from University Counseling Service, Student Health, Department of Public Safety, and the Rape Victim Advocacy Program.

E. Any new educational programs should specifically address issues of racial and ethnic diversity, especially:

1. Cultural differences in the definition of harassment and assault, vulnerability to harassment/assault, vulnerability to accusations of harassment/assault.

2. Acknowledgment of the role of racism in past law enforcement and disciplinary proceedings relating to sexual harassment and violence in the United States.

3. Commitment to uniform campus treatment regardless of the race/ethnicity of the
alleged victim and/or alleged perpetrator, focusing on the behavior rather than the identities of the parties.

F. The UI Lecture Committee should be encouraged to invite a prominent speaker in the area of violence and sexual assault to campus in order to air issues raised by our recent campus experiences. The entire campus community would be the target audience for this activity.

The University could also invite a prominent and well-known entertainer (ESPN Commentator, musical entertainer) early in fall semester (perhaps during the Weeks of Welcome or during Sexual Assault Awareness Month -April) with a goal of incorporating an educational or public awareness message into the presentation or performance. The entering class of first year undergraduates would be the main target audience for this activity, although certainly the entire campus community would benefit from having this issue raised. This speaker or event could have a focus on involving men in the campus community to show support for efforts to prevent sexual harassment and violence.

G. The University should implement mandatory RA training in residence halls that would focus on alcohol and its relationship to sexual assault and other forms of campus violence.

H. The University ought to seek out programs at other universities that have achieved success in reducing sexual violence, including alcohol-related sexual violence, to consider whether they might be implemented at the University. One such program is the "McPherson Program," which utilizes peer intervention to educate about physical coercion for sexual acts.

3. The University should collaborate with external entities, including the City of Iowa City, to achieve common goals regarding the reduction of sexual harassment and assault, especially as it relates to alcohol abuse.

A. The University administration should consider reaching out to bar owners to create a meaningful dialogue by which University policy and the data on alcohol-related sexual assaults could be communicated in a non-confrontational manner. Perhaps some common effort could follow, including posters addressing the alcohol/campus violence nexus and sexual assault services that could be displayed in restrooms and phone booths.

B. The University should consider adopting a poster and business card campaign in residence halls, bars and taverns that asks women, “Can you give consent?” and asks men, “Did you get consent?” This approach appears to have had some success on other campuses.

C. The University administration ought to help organize and then be part of an Iowa City Task Force on the impact of alcohol use on the quality of life in Iowa City, including the alcohol/campus violence nexus. Members of this group might also include downtown business owners with concerns about the effects of binge drinking on their businesses, as well as bar owners.

D. The University, perhaps in collaboration with local government, should explore the feasibility of reinstituting a safe transit service for individuals who feel they are at risk for violence after dark.

4. The University should uphold and improve current policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment and violence, as recommended below.

A. The University’s Sexual Harassment Policy should be amended to recommend that academic and administrative officers who receive complaints of sexual harassment should inform complainants of the resources provided by the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP). In addition, RVAP’s phone number would be consistently provided in publicity materials as the place for consultation, information, and support regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence.

B. Penalties for violations should be handed down promptly and should be more effective, which in some cases may be more severe, than in the past.

C. Academic and Administrative Officers should be required to comment in their annual activities reports or performance evaluations about the actions they have taken to maintain an atmosphere of civility and respect and prevent sexual harassment and violence in their units. Departmental and unit reviews should include commentary about unit climate and actions taken to ensure respect among all unit members, including those taken to prevent sexual harassment and violence.

D. Higher administration, including the President, Vice Presidents, and Provost, must publicly state their support for those individuals and offices that investigate and enforce the policies ( the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Departmental Executive Officers, etc.).

E. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity should annually publish in the Daily Iowan Special Edition statistics (gathered from Public Safety, RVAP, OAA) on complaints of sexual harassment and violence and the outcomes of complaints, including the penalties imposed.

Implementation of these recommendations will be both challenging and time-consuming. Given the limits of new resources for implementation, the Climate Committee urges the President to assign an existing charter or standing Committee (the UI Human Rights Committee or the Council on the Status of Women, for example) the task of creating an implementation plan and reporting annually to the President of the University on progress made.

CAMPUS CLIMATE COMMITTEE FINAL REPORT

INTRODUCTION

The Campus Climate Committee was convened at the University of Iowa by Interim President Willard “Sandy” Boyd in March 2003 for the purpose of investigating ways to better communicate and uphold the University’s policies on sexual harassment and violence. The Committee contained appointees from major constituencies on campus: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, University Athletics, counseling services, and advocacy services for women (WRAC and RVAP). The charge received from Interim President Boyd was specifically to address three key issues B (1) what could the University do to increase awareness of the policies already in place, (2) what actions could the University take to improve the climate for all students, faculty, and staff so that incidents of sexual harassment and violence decrease, and (3) what one-time campus wide events might help stimulate discussion of campus climate and change in behavioral practices. The Committee's subsequent recommendations are specific to the charge we were given, but are offered with an awareness and appreciation of the University's value for personal safety and freedom from harassment for all members of the community, as well as an appreciation of the particular concerns and needs of women and people of color.

The Campus Climate Committee (hereafter CCC) met throughout the remainder of the spring semester of 2003, focusing on collecting information quickly from key administrative officers on both the scope of the problem of communication and enforcement in their areas of responsibility, and possible solutions that could be implemented effectively in their unit. We also obtained information on the systems used by several other CIC institutions to educate members of their campus communities and enforce their policies. Pairs of committee members contacted individual administrators and interviewed them using a semi-structured interview schedule developed by the committee. All interviewees were guaranteed anonymity in exchange for their candor. Once information had been obtained from all parties, the interviews were transcribed and brought back to the committee for discussion. The Committee used the remainder of its time for discussion on 5 topics raised by the interviews and committee members’ experiences dealing with sexual harassment and violence B the advantages and cost of replicating the now decade-old survey on sexual harassment, the benefits and obstacles to mandatory education programs for the campus community, alcohol abuse and its relationship to sexual assault, how to make our reporting system user-friendly, and the problem of consistent enforcement of existing policies.

Given the short time frame the Campus Climate Committee needed to observe, it was difficult to get accurate information about the true extent of sexual harassment and violence on campus. We offer the following report recognizing this limitation, and acknowledging that campus administrators need better information on the nature and extent of sexual harassment and violence within the campus community. Folk knowledge and second hand reports indicate that certain areas of campus activity generate more harassment and assault than others, but pinpointing where immediate efforts at remediation should be directed must wait for better information.

This final report is organized into four parts -- the first provides the central insights gleaned by the interview data, the second discusses a leadership campaign to promote knowledge of our policies and awareness of them in daily life, the third focuses on education and training that might collectively foster a stronger campus environment where abuses are rare and the climate for reporting violations and enforcing sanctions is supportive, and the fourth discusses special activities that might help the greater campus community get involved in changing attitudes and behavior.

PART I. CENTRAL INSIGHTS FROM THE CAMPUS INTERVIEWS

The Committee on the Campus Climate contacted eighteen members of the University administration, from central administrators to directors of specific offices, and interviewed seventeen of them. The following information represents a rough summary of the comments we received about awareness of the University’s sexual harassment and violence policies, and the most frequently mentioned recommendations on how to better publicize the policies.

Most work units do not perceive sexual harassment and violence to be problems within their work places. Most administrators feel that their faculty, staff, and student members are generally aware that the University has policies against sexual harassment and violence, but very few engage in actively informing faculty, staff, or students of the policies, either as an item of initial training or as part of continuing education or in-service training.

Most administrators agreed that training of their unit members is a good idea, but few of them felt they had an immediate need for such training, and many seemed unsure about the appropriate point to have such training. Most felt that mandatory training would not be particularly successful and many questioned whether it would be received without considerable backlash, particularly from faculty. Most of those interviewed did not favor making awareness of the sexual harassment and violence policies and a signed pledge to uphold the policies a condition of either employment or enrollment. They cited difficulties in implementation and enforcement of such a pledge, and some expressed philosophical reluctance to impose signed pledges on people.

While many units, especially those that deal directly with students, agreed that training faculty, staff, and students alike about the sexual harassment and violence policies is important, they consistently attribute the lack of attention to sexual harassment and violence policies to a lack of time during training and the pressures of training their unit members on a large number of areas that are perceived to be of more immediate utility. As a result these issues are usually addressed only when they are brought up directly by trainees.

Educating students on sexual harassment and violence policies is undertaken most assiduously in the professional colleges, where the policies are closely linked to professional standards of conduct outside the University. Otherwise, when these issues are addressed, it is usually a choice made by those who do programming for students and offered as an option that students may elect to participate in, but are not required to attend. Most of those who have direct contact with students feel that the students would only take the issues of sexual harassment and violence seriously when a situation arose where the policies -- and consequences of violation of the policies -- became matters of public discussion or more personal concern.

Most of the administrators interviewed did not think that sexual harassment and sexual violence were problems within their units and other units of which they were aware. When asked to cite where they thought these violations occurred most frequently, administrators were likely to cite the undergraduate population of the University. The reasons most frequently cited for these violations were the excessive use of alcohol by students, attitudes brought to the University from home, lack of respect and civility within the University community, and a sense that the University is a large, anonymous community where the likelihood of being caught and punished for a transgression is slight.

These are some of the specific suggestions offered by interviewees for improving communication of the sexual harassment and violence policies through the University community

-- Place posters widely around campus, 1) to educate those who may be unsure what acceptable behaviors are, 2) to inform and remind everyone that sexual harassment and violence will not be tolerated and 3) to publicize ways of reporting violations of the policies.

-- Make awareness of sexual harassment and violence policies and ongoing presentation of important information part of individual administrators’ and units’ performance evaluations and appraisals.

-- Improve communication about the consequences of violations of the policies as a way to deter those who may be tempted to think that the consequences of violation are minor.

-- Improve enforcement of existing policies by strengthening consequences as a deterrent to would be violators.

-- Improve communication about the process of making a complaint. Make better known the points at which a complaint can be initiated, what the steps in the complaint process are, and who is a mandatory reporter. Also, improve communication to keep the complainant informed of the progress of the complaint through the system.

-- Make training in the sexual harassment and violence policies part of training for new faculty (where it is not already done) and especially for teaching assistants.

-- Be more systematic and intentional about teaching students about the policies. Suggestions include incorporating discussion of sexual harassment and violence policies into academic courses, like Rhetoric or The College Transition. Adding more information about the policies to orientation programs and to the information sent home to incoming students was also suggested, especially because this information would reach transfer students who might otherwise be missed, and would also be seen by parents.

In summary, the University administrators we interviewed agreed that we have a problem with sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus, though few felt it was a problem they confronted directly. Most agreed that these are matters that need to be confronted and can be lessened with education and accountability. Many, however, felt that they and their staffs had little time to take direct action to be certain that everyone was aware of the University’s policies, aware of steps they could take if they felt the policy had been violated, and aware of the consequences of violation. Despite this, nearly all were ready to participate in making the University of Iowa a safer and more welcoming academic and work environment.

Part II. Response to Charge #1: How best to communicate the existence and details of existing policies

The Committee believes the best way to communicate the existence and details of current policies is to implement an educational campaign to raise awareness about (1) what University of Iowa policies exist regarding sexual harassment and violence, (2) what constitutes sexual harassment and violence, and (3) what resources exist to assist victims of sexual harassment and violence. In this section we deal specifically with the first goal. The evidence collected and reviewed by the committee suggests that the University has strong policies on sexual harassment and violence, but does not uniformly or consistently advertise these policies or the consequences of their violation. Strong leadership will be required to ensure that all units on campus receive annual information about existing policies that govern sexual harassment and violence, and that all new members of the campus community are informed upon arrival. The recent Graduate Programs Climate Study conducted by WISE in 2003 (http://www.uiowa.edu/~wise/climate/climatecontents.htm) revealed that the majority of doctoral students in the survey were unfamiliar or only somewhat familiar with the university’s sexual harassment policies. As revealed in the interview data with administrators, most units on campus provide minimal if any discussion of the university’s policies on sexual harassment and violence. Currently, students are provided a copy of the sexual harassment and violence policies in the middle of a Student Handbook that covers all essential information for students and is distributed during Orientation. However, the small font and densely packed material in the handbook deter close attention to those policies.

The Policy on Sexual Harassment imposes significant responsibilities on academic or administrative officers of the University, in particular. The following individuals are academic or administrative officers:

-- any collegiate dean

-- any faculty member with administrative responsibilities at the level of Departmental Executive Officer (DEO) or above

-- a student's academic advisor

-- the Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity or designee any Vice President or designee

-- the Provost or designee

-- any Director or supervisor

-- any human resources representative

Academic and administrative officers are charged with receiving complaints of sexual harassment, counseling complainants about their options under the Policy, reporting allegations to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and facilitating informal resolutions of allegations when appropriate. Given these responsibilities, it is imperative that all academic and administrative officers be educated about the issue of sexual harassment and the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, including complaint procedures. However, the Committee’s interviews revealed that there is no systematic process in place to educate all University academic and administrative officers about sexual harassment and violence and the policies in place to deal with them on campus, much less the broader community of students, faculty, and staff,

Given the evidence that students, faculty, and staff are relatively uninformed about University policies on sexual harassment and violence, we offer the following recommendations:

1.A. The President should send a letter to the parents of incoming freshmen students, prior to the beginning of the fall semester, advising the parents of the University’s policies relating to alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual harassment, and violence, and the consequences for behavior in violation of those policies. The letter should also advise parents on the steps they can take to prepare their sons and daughters to act responsibly.

B. The University should notify all faculty, students, and staff annually about the policies on sexual harassment and violence, as it does for workplace drugs and alcohol by federal mandate. The President of the University could send a letter and/or email each fall to all faculty, staff, and students reminding all community members of the importance of following these University policies, and providing information about resources available to bring complaints or obtain more information.

C. All Academic and Administrative Officers, as defined by university policy, should receive training when they assume their position at the University and at regular intervals thereafter. The President should issue directive invitations to all new AAOs to attend training each year. The training should cover both general education about what behavior constitutes sexual harassment and violence, as well as the specific procedures to be followed under the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment. AAOs should receive posters, magnets, buttons, etc. with information about sexual harassment and violence to display in their units. Academic and Administrative Officers should have a magnet to post in their office that lists the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity’s website URL. It is vital that these mandatory reporters have immediate access to information that will help them assess the victim’s safety issues and proceed in a timely manner with university process.

D. Academic and Administrative Officers, especially Deans of instructional units, should be encouraged to provide orientation programs annually for new faculty and teaching assistants that include information on the University’s Sexual Harassment and Violence Policies.

Part III. Response to Charge #2 What training, resource development, or other measures may be necessary, in addition to those presently available, to reduce assault and harassment on campus and to fairly deal with alleged victims and offenders?

The issue of how best to alter the current campus climate to one even less tolerant of sexual abuse than at present is a complex and multi-faceted one. After much discussion, the committee identified five areas in which actions could be taken to further the goal of a safe learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff: improving our knowledge base about problem areas on campus that should be targeted for intervention, education and training of students, faculty, and staff on what constitutes sexual harassment and violence, the abuse of alcohol in the campus community, the reporting system when sexual abuse occurs, and the enforcement system for policy violation. Each is dealt with in turn.

III. A. Increasing our Knowledge Base about Sexual Harassment on Campus

The committee, after careful deliberation about the costs and benefits involved, believes that replicating the 1993 survey conducted by the University of Iowa Council on the Status of Women (CSW) and documented in Sexual Harassment at the University of Iowa: Results of a Campus-Wide Survey would provide useful information about where to target increased education and enforcement efforts. Replication could be accomplished in concert with CSW.

The 1993 survey was a thorough and sound effort that was the only and last such effort of its kind to acquire information regarding the incidence and prevalence of sexual harassment in different units. The survey also documented reporting rates and disincentives for reporting for faculty, staff, and students on campus, and defined the scope and nature of harassment on campus and the impact of reporting on respondents and perpetrators.

Replication of the 1993 survey will provide a vehicle to determine the incidence, scope, and nature of sexual harassment in our current environment and to determine to what degree those indices have changed over the ensuing decade. In addition to providing this valuable data, the process of conducting the survey and publishing the results will serve to increase awareness and educate the campus about the definition of sexual harassment under the University’s policy, options for victim reporting of sexual harassment, obligations for academic or administrative officers’ reporting of sexual harassment when they become aware of it, and possible consequences for perpetrators.

The University’s Office of Human Resources has online survey capability (Survey Monkey) to gather responses at a relatively low cost that would provide the information we need to determine future corrective actions on campus. A sample survey instrument used in Sweden exists and has been recommended to the Committee by Prof. Nancy Hauserman of the College of Business, who has agreed to assist in its modification for University use. Resulting recommendations from the survey would be forwarded to University of Iowa President David Skorton for implementation.

Because of the benefits of increased information about sexual harassment and violence before new programmatic initiatives are undertaken, we recommend:

2.A. The University of Iowa should replicate the Campus Survey on Sexual Harassment (or a similar survey) which was last performed in 1993. Without information on the large number of units within the University, it is difficult to target resources where they would be most effective in reducing sexual harassment and violence.

III. B. Education and Prevention Efforts within the University Community

The Committee’s interviews revealed that there is no systematic process in place to educate all University personnel about what constitutes sexual harassment and violence and the policies in place to deal with them on campus. The broader community of students is even less well served and subject to high turnover on an annual basis, meaning that education efforts must be on-going to be effective with that group. The University of Iowa has documented through Evaluation and Exam Services’ student surveys that personal safety issues are of greatest concern for undergraduate students in their first year; this outcome may be influenced by students’ unfamiliarity with the campus and community, but suggests that new students are a group of special concern. Men and women frequently come to campus without adequate recognition of what actions are defined as sexual harassment or sexual abuse, and with limited repertoires of action to cope with experiences of harassment or violence (whether as victims or observers).

The Committee makes the following recommendations regarding education of the broad University community on the definition and incidence of sexual harassment and violence, recognizing institutional limitations on the time and resources available for new programming:

2.B. The University should create a poster or poster series with an appealing design and pertinent information about what constitutes sexual harassment and violence, and what resources exist to assist victims. The University of Illinois has a free poster series that could be used or slightly modified for this campus. The University could use existing academic departments (marketing, design, etc.) to sponsor a poster contest to generate new displays. Posters should be disseminated for display on campus bulletin boards, restrooms, and the Cambus.

C. The University of Iowa should create and disseminate maps of the campus and downtown area with sexual harassment/assault information on the back to assist in creating familiarity with the community and with resources available to victims. Maps and other handout information should include where to report an assault or case of harassment, explain the steps involved in a campus investigation through the use of a flow chart, include information about the informal resolution of complaints, and provide information about retaliation protection.

D. The University should provide mechanisms to educate students about sexual harassment and violence, specifically targeting first year students. Examples include:

1. The coordinator of the required first year Rhetoric course may be able to integrate knowledge of University sexual harassment and violence policies into curriculum; the University could provide seed money for the development of curricular materials for this purpose.

2. Sexual harassment, assault, alcohol awareness, and safety issues could be incorporated into the current College Transition course or similar courses; with the University providing seed money for development of curricular materials for this purpose.

3. An online training program for students could be designed (based on the “Online at Iowa” concept) covering issues of sexual harassment, assault, alcohol awareness, local/state laws, and safety issues. Program could contain scenarios to evaluate to determine whether specific behavior is or is not sexual harassment, as well as specifics related to the University’s policies (e.g., does the behavior have to occur on campus). Students could be required to complete the program and would earn one credit for completion.

4. Students could receive the same one-hour panel orientation program that parents currently receive that includes representatives from University Counseling Service, Student Health, Department of Public Safety, and the Rape Victim Advocacy Program.

E. Any new educational programs should specifically address issues of racial and ethnic diversity, especially:

1. Cultural differences in the definition of harassment and assault, vulnerability to harassment/assault, vulnerability to accusations of harassment/assault.

2. Acknowledgment of the role of racism in past law enforcement and disciplinary proceedings relating to sexual harassment and violence in the United States.

3. Commitment to uniform campus treatment regardless of the race/ethnicity of the alleged victim and/or alleged perpetrator, focusing on the behavior rather than the identities of the parties.

III. C. Alcohol Abuse and Campus Climate

Binge drinking rates on the UI campus are very high, among the highest in the nation. As a result, adverse, alcohol-related, consequences are also very high. Among these consequences are unwanted and unsafe sex and other forms of interpersonal violence and aggression. Estimates are that between one-third and one-half of all first-year undergraduate women experience coerced, unwanted sex as a result of alcohol abuse[1].

Despite efforts by the University to share information on binge drinking and its adverse effects with students, strong differences of opinion and perspective continue to exist on the best mechanisms for reducing alcohol related harassment and violence. The Committee recognized that faculty, staff, and graduate students have roles to play in confronting undergraduate binge drinking and its resultant effects on campus violence. These parties could both model responsible alcohol use and communicate concern about the link between drinking and campus violence. An attempt to reach these groups and enlist their involvement in prevention efforts would seem to make sense.

The Committee felt that one of the most effective messages the University administration could deliver would be that its concern about binge drinking and its impact on campus violence reflects its strong desire to promote campus safety and a strong university community.

The Committee also discussed two specific approaches to the alcohol/campus violence nexus: (1) Should there not be a focus, by University health educators, on first-year undergraduate women, in line with the public health approach that identifies the highest-risk group in a public health intervention/prevention plan? Should not this specific group of undergraduates be targeted for special, tailored, intensive educational efforts? (2) Could an emphasis on fire code endorsement, ensuring that bars and taverns did not exceed their mandated customer numbers, help reduce the numbers of students drinking in the bars?

To facilitate the goals of reduction in alcohol abuse and its frequent sequelae of sexual abuse, the committee offers the following recommendations:

2. G. The University should implement mandatory RA training in residence halls that would focus on alcohol and its relationship to sexual assault and other forms of campus violence.

H. The University ought to seek out programs at other universities that have achieved success in reducing sexual violence, including alcohol-related sexual violence, to consider whether they might be implemented at the University. One such program is the “McPherson Program,” which utilizes peer intervention to educate about physical coercion for sexual acts.

3. A. The University administration should consider reaching out to bar owners to create a meaningful dialogue by which University policy and the data on alcohol-related sexual assaults could be communicated in a non-confrontational manner. Perhaps some common effort could follow, including posters addressing the alcohol/campus violence nexus and sexual assault services that could be displayed in restrooms and phone booths.

B. The University should consider adopting a poster and business card campaign in residence halls, bars and taverns that asks women, “Can you give consent?” and asks men, “Did you get consent?” This approach appears to have had some success on other campuses.

C. The University administration ought to help organize and then be part of an Iowa City Task Force on the impact of alcohol use on the quality of life in Iowa City, including the alcohol/campus violence nexus. Members of this group might also include downtown business owners with concerns about the effects of binge drinking on their businesses, as well as bar owners.

D. The University, perhaps in collaboration with local government, should explore the feasibility of reinstituting a safe transit service for individuals who feel they are at risk for violence after dark.

III. D. Reporting of Sexual Harassment Complaints

The Climate Committee examined the current sexual harassment reporting system in the UI Sexual Harassment Policy. This is a decentralized system allowing faculty, staff, and students several points of entry for filing sexual harassment complaints and giving them easy access to individuals within the University with whom they could file a complaint. Reports might be filed with several offices (e.g., Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Office of the Ombudsperson, Vice President for Student Services, Campus Police, and Office of Residence Services) and with two University-related organizations, the Women's Resource and Action Center and the Rape Victim Advocacy Program. Further, initial contacts might include such individuals as deans, department chairs, directors, supervisors, coaches, and professors.

Many individuals and offices that represent these initial points of contact for reporting sexual harassment complaints also have specific roles in investigation and sanctions (e.g., Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Vice President for Student Services, and Campus Police). Some individuals and departments such as Residence Advisors and DEO’s are mandatory reporters. That is to say, they are required to report any case of sexual harassment or assault reported to them.

There are sometimes cases in which formal reporting to authorities is less than desirable for the victim for many reasons including fear of publicity, retaliation, concerns regarding responses of family members or friends, and other legitimate reasons. On the other hand, there have been some cases, especially involving violence, extortion, and stalking that need to be reported both within the University system and with the Criminal Justice System. As noted in the Raymond Committee Report, these two systems should be kept separate and distinct.

This Committee believes that what is in the best interests of the victim is best determined by the victim in consultation with an advocate who is specifically trained to deal with sexual harassment. Sanctions and treatment of offenders should be based on the offender’s behavior versus who they are or what they represent.

A review of this system found that practical disadvantages often preclude intended outcomes. The goal is consistent, competent responses including investigations that protect both the victim and the accused. Victims are to be accompanied by trained advocates if they so desire and protected from coercion or retaliation. The accused must be given due process. In cases where it is determined that sexual harassment has occurred, appropriate sanctions should be meted out to offenders consistently. Educational efforts should follow instances in which sexual harassment occurred.


Current Reporting System Critique

The current reporting system listed in the University Policy on Sexual Harassment is as follows:

Persons who wish to consult with someone about a specific situation on a confidential basis or learn more about enforcement of the Policy on Sexual Harassment may contact any of the following offices or organizations:

-- the Office of the Ombudsperson (for faculty, staff, or students)

-- Faculty and Staff Services (for faculty or staff)

-- University Counseling Service (for students)

-- Women’s Resource and Action Center (for faculty, staff, or students)

-- Rape Victim Advocacy Program (for faculty, staff, or students)

Representatives of these offices or other support persons may accompany an alleged victim during the investigation process if the alleged victim so desires. These offices are exempt from the reporting requirements set forth in Section 4(d) of this Policy. Other offices may be required to report allegations as described in Section 4(d).

While the current system provides many points of initial contact intended to provide complainants with multiple choices, there are considerable drawbacks, including:

-- inconsistent application of policies and procedures;

-- inconsistent handling of cases;

-- variability in the level of training, competence, and responses by individuals
charged with dealing with sexual abuse and harassment complaints;

-- hesitancy by some administrators to ask for help, believing they should be able to handle any situation that arises within their domain;

--inadequate victim protection from coercion, abuse and negative consequences resulting from reporting sexual harassment and assault;

-- confusion regarding which is the best place to file a complaint, what options are available, and possible consequences related to each option,

-- lack of insuring that trained advocates accompany victims to provide continuity, information, support, and assistance in determining which options are right for them

-- perceived--and sometimes actual--inconsistencies in the treatment of the accused and sanctions applied to perpetrators;

-- perceived or actual conflicts of interest

The Committee recognizes the need for greater simplicity, consistency, and effectiveness in reporting cases of sexual harassment within the University. Therefore:

4.A. The University’s Sexual Harassment Policy should be amended to recommend that academic and administrative officers who receive complaints of sexual harassment should inform complainants of the resources provided by the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP). In addition, RVAP’s phone number would be consistently provided in publicity materials as the place for consultation, information, and support regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence.

III. E. Enforcement of Policies

The campus climate regarding personal safety and freedom from harassment and assault is in part created by perceptions of how current policies are enforced. The interviews conducted by the Committee and the 1993 survey by the Council on the Status of Women suggest that the University community perceives that enforcement of the Policy on Sexual Harassment is too lax (i.e., penalties for founded violations are too light). Strict enforcement of policies including the imposition of serious sanctions for violations is a method of communication to the entire University community about expectations and consequences.

The committee recognized that the differences in power that often occur between victims and perpetrators make stricter enforcement difficult. DEOs, Deans, coaches, and other administrative officers often deal with perpetrators who have ample resources at their disposal and are important members of their respective units. Without strong higher administrative support for strict enforcement and zero tolerance of sexual abuse, these University officials are loathe to act in isolation, and may too willingly accept lighter penalties to avoid further legal action or censure from their colleagues.

The Committee makes the following recommendations regarding the enforcement of current policies:

4. B. Penalties for violations should be handed down promptly and should be more effective, which in some cases may be more severe, than in the past.

C. Academic and Administrative Officers should be required to comment in their annual activities reports or performance evaluations about the actions they have taken to maintain an atmosphere of civility and respect and prevent sexual harassment and violence in their units. Departmental and unit reviews should include commentary about unit climate and actions taken to ensure respect among all unit members, including those taken to prevent sexual harassment and violence.

D. Higher administration, including the President, Vice Presidents, and Provost, must publicly state their support for those individuals and offices that investigate and enforce the policies (the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Departmental Executive Officers, etc.).

E. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity should annually publish in the Daily Iowan Special Edition statistics (gathered from Public Safety, RVAP, OAA) on complaints of sexual harassment and violence and the outcomes of complaints, including the penalties imposed.

IV. Response to Charge #3: Whether the campus could benefit from a series of campus-wide discussions, or perhaps a conference, to fully air issues raised by recent cases, and other important factors

The committee agreed that education would be of benefit to the campus community. In constructing a response to this charge, the committee examined possible resources, consultants, speakers, and exemplary programs noted on other campuses across the country.

Two important considerations were noted as we discussed our response to this charge. First, most exemplary programs are based on the premise that men must be actively involved in the planning and delivery of educational programs geared at both raising awareness of issues around personal safety, harassment, violence, and sexual assault. Second, the programs themselves must convey the idea that men must assume responsibility for ending the harassment and violence that research has shown is largely perpetrated by men against women and other men.

The committee makes the following recommendations for speakers, programs, or activities in order to address the questions raised in charge 3.

2. F. The UI Lecture Committee should be encouraged to invite a prominent speaker in the area of violence and sexual assault to campus in order to air issues raised by our recent campus experiences. The entire campus community would be the target audience for this activity.

The University could also invite a prominent and well-known entertainer (ESPN Commentator, musical entertainer) early in fall semester (perhaps during the Weeks of Welcome or during Sexual Assault Awareness Month -April) with a goal of incorporating an educational or public awareness message into the presentation or performance. The entering class of first year undergraduates would be the main target audience for this activity, although certainly the entire campus community would benefit from having this issue raised. This speaker or event could have a focus on involving men in the campus community to show support for efforts to prevent sexual harassment and violence.

V. CONCLUSIONS

Given our interviews with administrative officers in units across campus, the Campus Climate Committee has no reason at present to believe that harassment and violence are dramatically increasing at the University of Iowa. Indeed, administrators’ perception is that the overall incidence of sexual harassment and sexual violence at the University of Iowa is low. However, it was also clear from our investigation that we need better and more current information, and there is substantial room for improvement in our current communication and training surrounding issues of sexual harassment and violence within the campus community.

Implementation of the preceding recommendations will be both challenging and time-consuming. Given the limits of new resources for implementation, the Climate Committee urges the President to assign an existing charter or standing committee (possible the Human Rights Committee or the Council on the Status of Women) the task of creating an implementation plan and reporting annually to the President of the University on progress made.

The Climate Committee noted with some chagrin that some of our current recommendations are echoes of recommendations made in the report on the 1993 Sexual Harassment Survey. This made it clear to committee members that progress on this issue will only be made when policies and procedures are backed with some kind of institutional accountability. We hope that our recommendations can become the basis for a plan of action that will create a University environment in which mutual respect and safety are assumed.

APPENDICES

1. Full set of interviews

2. Resources for programming and possible consultants

3. 1993 UI Sexual Harassment Survey

4. Berkowitz chapter

5. UI Sexual Harassment Policy

6. Swedish College Survey on Sexual Harassment

[1]Dolan, S.L. & Nathan, P.E. (2001). Access-related binge drinking at a Big Ten University. Unpublished manuscript, University of Iowa.

Brenda Huebner
President's Office
The University of Iowa
101 Jessup Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-0000, Fax: (319) 335-0807
brenda-huebner@uiowa.edu