Survey shows UNA students lack knowledge of Title IX reporting procedures

by News Editor Anna Brown

While students might have difficulties locating a certain building on campus, knowing where to get help after a sexual assault should not be a concern.

About 50 percent of respondents said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with statements indicating they knew where to get help on campus if they or a friend were sexually assaulted, according to results from the Students Campus Climate Survey conducted last fall.

“If something happened to them or they know somebody who was assaulted, they didn’t know what to do,” said Title IX Coordinator Tammy Jacques. “That was the biggest problem.”

While 79 percent of respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with statements indicating they felt valued and connected to the university and its faculty, over 61 percent of students “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” with statements indicating the university does enough to protect students’ safety and provides a good support system for students who experience difficulties.

However, over 67 percent of survey respondents indicated they would be moderately to extremely likely to engage in active bystander behaviors.

“I was encouraged that most students said they would actively engage, but we still have work to do,” Jacques said.

Seven percent of survey respondents indicated they believe it is their responsibility to learn more about sexual assault and do something about it, according to survey results.

“That tells you we need to continue to do more education,” Jacques said. “It happens on every college campus. I think it would be naive to say that it doesn’t happen at UNA. Sometimes you just don’t know about it.”

Jacques said the results of the survey include recommendations on how to make students more aware of their reporting options on campus and better educate students on active bystander behaviors.

One of those recommendations includes incorporating active bystander training and education on sexual assault into the First-Year Experiences courses required for freshmen.

Jacques said all first-year students taking an FYE course must complete the online training program, “Haven,” to receive credit for the course.

Administration also added a 50-minute session on Title IX in the FYE courses. She said this session is focused on consent, alcohol and incapacitation.

“First-Year Experience gives us an opportunity to speak to a large group of students and set a tone,” said Director of the First-Year Experience Program Matthew Little. “We hope to establish a culture where students are protected, feel safe and know what to do if something were to happen to them on campus.”

He said presenting this information through FYE also gives students a chance to ask questions as they go through the Title IX presentation.

The Haven program emphasizes the importance of healthy relationships and consent, and teaches students active bystander procedures.

Active bystander training teaches students how to safely intervene if they see signs of abuse or a potential assault happening.

Jacques said she also sent an email to new transfer upperclassmen and graduate students encouraging them to complete the Haven program.

“We’re hoping that they’ll complete it, but we don’t have a system in place yet to confirm that they do it,” she said. “We’re just encouraging them to do this because we want to make sure they’re knowledgeable about this information.”

Current non-transfer upperclassman students may complete the Haven program if they like, but it is not required, she said.

“Some current sophomores completed the Haven program last year as freshmen, but the response was not as strong,” she said. “We’re going to do more bystander intervention programming with the current upperclassmen in a one on one environment.”

The survey administered during the fall 2014 semester provided critical information about our campus resources, student experiences and campus climate.

This is the first of a series of four briefs containing information about students’ perceptions of campus leadership, policies and reporting practices pertaining to sexual assault, active bystander awareness and rape myth acceptance.

Nine hundred seventy-eight students completed the survey, with 73 percent of respondents identifying as female, 26 percent as male and one percent as transgender or other.

Jacques said racial composition of respondents compared well to the racial makeup of the university.