Sexual Assault Awareness Month Update
April 23, 2015
Dear Member of the Drexel Community,
Throughout the month of April, Drexel has joined other universities in a national educational effort focused on sexual assault awareness and prevention. The Office of Equality and Diversity has taken the lead with its “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Say Something!” campaign — you can learn more about their work, including several April activities still remaining, at DrexelNow.
Our University takes seriously its obligation to address sexual violence and misconduct and ensure the safety of students and other members of the University community. The law and culture around sexual misconduct have been rapidly evolving, and Drexel has expended great effort and resources to give these issues the consideration they deserve.
Last year, the University brought in two nationally known experts to look at our process and procedures for addressing complaints of sexual harassment and misconduct, to ensure that our approach is effective. According to those experts, the University’s dedication and commitment to these issues serves our community well, but there is always more we can do. In the months since receiving their report, we have implemented the recommendations made by the experts.
We have amended our reporting procedures to centralize the flow of information in a way that respects everyone and ensures that individuals who are affected by these issues are well served by our process. The Office of Equality and Diversity is now the hub of all Title IX and Sexual Assault prevention and reporting efforts at Drexel.
We have formed an integrated team of individuals from across all departments of the University to address reports as they arise, and to manage cases as they move through our process. We have made the University’s Title IX coordinator, Michele Rovinsky-Mayer, a member of the President’s cabinet so that the problem of sexual violence and misconduct in our community is always a part of the discussion at the senior level.
We have multiple layers of independent review incorporated into the process. In many cases, we utilize independent external adjudicators to determine whether an individual is responsible for the conduct that has been reported, and to help determine what sanctions may be appropriate.
It isn’t enough for the University to focus on dealing with sexual violence and misconduct after it occurs. We have to foster a culture at Drexel in which those behaviors are not ignored or allowed to exist under the radar. To that end, we have redoubled our focus on educating and training all of the members of the Drexel community — not just students — about our culture, policies and processes as they relate to sexual violence and misconduct.
We are taking a comprehensive approach to a difficult and complicated problem. There is always room for improvement and we continue to work hard to make our processes better, and the early indications are that our efforts are working. Our goal is to become a leader on issues of sexual violence and misconduct among universities nationwide. For more information about Drexel’s Title IX process and sexual assault prevention at Drexel, including bystander intervention, please visit the Title IX website at drexel.edu/titleIX.
John A. Fry