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Students, faculty, admin. discuss climate survey

A major point of discussion when students and faculty gathered to discuss the analysis of the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct in relation to race, ethnicity and international status was changes and improvement to the Bystander Intervention training program. The Task Force for Sexual Assault Response, Services and Prevention led most of the discussion.

The Task Force asked members of the discussion to think of strategic suggestions and ideas, such as new training programs, to improve campus awareness of sexual misconduct and how to prevent situations of sexual misconduct.

The Task Force also turned to faculty members at the discussion and asked what the staff thinks of sexual misconduct and how to handle students who are seeking help. Several faculty members said they would like to have more frequent training programs that teach staff members how to handle instances of sexual misconduct. Multiple faculty members agreed that there should be more than one training session throughout their time at Brandeis. One faculty member said it would be useful for students to know that their information can be kept confidential and they do not have to tell their parents or friends.

Much of the conversation focused on bystander intervention training, which is “a primary prevention strategy that changes to focus from a one-to-one relationship between a potential perpetrator and a potential victim to a total community response,” according to the Brandeis University website.

“Bystander training thus far has really impacted the way our community understands consent and we’ve seen that more people are able to recognize situations in which sexual assault has the potential to occur,” said Sam Daniels ’16, a student representative of the Task Force who also works in the Office of Prevention Services. Daniels says that “not everyone who recognizes these situations intervenes and so that’s why we created Bystander 2.0.” Bystander 2.0 is a program by the Office of Prevention Services, which puts into effect the strategies students learned in the original training program. “Bystander training empowers students to make a tangible impact on campus culture,” Daniels said to The Brandeis Hoot.

Leaders of the task force discussed the results of the climate survey, which showed that international students and minority students often do not feel connected to the campus community and are not aware of certain resources on campus.

“In terms of the climate survey in relation to race, ethnicity and international status, we see that 18.5 percent of international respondents, 23.4 percent of Latino respondents, 16.9 percent of Asian-American respondents, 22.7 percent of black respondents, 15 percent of white respondents and 26.9 percent of respondents identifying as another minority reported experiencing sexual assault. Sexual violence disproportionately affects people of color. The discussion on Tuesday should only be the beginning of our community thinking critically about the intersections of sexual and racial violence,” said Daniels.

The Task Force is working to implement more programs and resources for students to remain aware since their first training session. It is important to continue the conversation of sexual misconduct according to race, ethnicity and international status, as all students should feel safe and comfortable on campus.

The discussion was led by Brandeis University Interim President Lisa Lynch, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Task Force Co-Chair Kim Godsoe, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Task Force Co-Chair Sheryl Sousa and several other members of the Task Force for Sexual Assault Response, Services and Prevention.

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