Swarthmore College Action Steps To Date
Since 2013, the College has taken more than 30 concrete steps to address campus sexual misconduct, and more are planned in upcoming semesters. The College initiated reviews of its policies and procedures through a formal external review (by the firm Margolis, Healy & Associates) and through an internal task force (the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct). In addition, the College created five new staff positions, revamped its policies and procedures, increased its programming on sexual violence prevention, added new trainings for faculty and staff, and continues to refine its practices and initiatives. The list below details many of the steps involved to get us to this point, as well as what is planned for the future. If you have any questions, please contact Kaaren Williamsen, Title IX coordinator, at 610-690-3720.
College Action Steps May 2013-December 2014
- In May of 2013, the College commissioned an external review of all of its sexual misconduct policies and procedures by the consulting firm Margolis, Healy & Associates, a firm specializing in campus safety, security, and regulatory compliance. (The College has since implemented all of the Margolis-Healy Report recommendations from their July 2013 Interim Report and from their Final Report issued in January of 2014.)
- Swarthmore also conducted a thorough internal review through the work of the Sexual Misconduct Task Force, chaired by Professor of Sociology, Sarah Willie-LeBreton and composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Board of Managers. The Task Force delivered its report to the campus community in Sept. 2014.
The College hired an interim Title IX coordinator, Patricia Flaherty Fischette, created a full-time Title IX Coordinator position, and began a national search for that position. Kaaren Williamsen, an experienced college administrator and nationally known Title IX expert, was hired to the position in July 2014. This position reports directly to the President.
- The College appointed four Title IX deputy coordinators to support the work of the Title IX coordinator. These include the associate dean of diversity, inclusion, and community development; the associate provost for faculty development; the human resources manager; and the associate athletics director. These deputies assist the Title IX Coordinator with policy development, case management, prevention education, and serve as an additional first point of contact for concerned parties.
- Worth Health Center hired a violence prevention educator and advocate to create ongoing sexual violence prevention education for students and to provide guidance through our student conduct systems for survivors of sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment and misconduct.
The Dean of Students separated the roles of drug and alcohol counseling and fraternity advising. Worth Health Center hired an alcohol and other drugs counselor and educator to develop and present educational alcohol and drug prevention programming and provide individual and group counseling to students. This position works within the health center to integrate our prevention and treatment programs more fully into the College’s health and wellness resources. Fraternity advising now falls under the purview of the Office of Student Engagement.
- Public Safety hired an additional investigator, who also provides training for other members of that staff and additional members of the campus community on how to most effectively and sensitively respond to incidents of sexual misconduct.
- The Dean of Students Office reviewed staffing in residential life to ensure sufficient capacity and infrastructure to provide increased student support and educational programming in the residential setting. They launched a new Office of Student Engagement, combining Residential Life and Student Activities and added staff positions to provide more support for RAs, crisis management, leadership development, and residential education.
The College dedicated a Title IX House on Fieldhouse Lane for the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, administrative assistant, and Title IX Fellow. The house is a dedicated space for groups working on these issues to come together. In addition, the house offers privacy for those who are seeking assistance.
- The Title IX Coordinator created a Student Title IX Advisory Team, a group of 10 dedicated Swarthmore students, who will advise on policy, procedures, events, and initiatives.
Policies and Procedures
- The College adopted a new Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy and revised the Student Handbook, detailing new hearing procedures, providing detailed explanations of reporting options, discussions of available resources, clear definitions of sexual assault and harassment and explicit timeframes for all major stages of investigations and resolution. (September 2013, revised September 2014.)
- The College, through the new policy, revised its response and support procedures to insure that all reporting parties/complainants are offered a range of appropriate interim measures, including academic accommodations, housing changes, and no-contact directives.
Public Safety created a Clery Act Compliance Committee. This committee, which includes students, faculty, and staff, provides leadership and oversees the College’s compliance with the Clery Act in the areas of reporting, policy, procedure development, implementation, and updates the Annual Fire Safety and Security Report.
- Public Safety developed new and revised existing policies and protocols related to reporting, including updates on the issuance of timely warning notices.
- Public Safety updated their website to ensure that Clery Act provisions are easily accessible, adding an online report form for incidents of criminal activity or sexual misconduct.
- The Title IX Coordinator is guiding implementation of the Campus SaVE Act. The coordinator reviewed existing efforts and made changes to ensure that all employees and students are offered both initial and ongoing training.
- The College shifted its adjudication model for student-student cases of sexual misconduct to one that is overseen by an external adjudicator, including a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice with extensive experience in cases involving sexual violence.
The College sponsored both full day and half day Title IX Training sessions for faculty and staff. These trainings included an overview of institutional obligations, a review of legislative updates, and a discussion of the training, education and prevention requirements of Title IX. To date, the College has held over 80 training sessions – on Title IX, Clery Act compliance, in addition to dozens of information sessions with students groups such as fraternities, athletics teams, and peer leaders.
- The College provided training for investigators on how to most effectively and sensitively conduct investigations related to sexual misconduct.
- The College provided training to ensure that confidential resources understand the grievance procedures and can answer questions they may receive.
- Public Safety ensured that all of our campus security authorities (CSAs), as identified by the Clery Act,—who are staff, faculty, resident assistants (RAs), and others who, by virtue of their position, are likely to hear first-hand reports of sexual misconduct and other crimes—were identified and trained on their responsibilities to promptly report all Clery Act crimes, including sexual assault. The list of CSAs was widely distributed and listed on the website. A comprehensive training program with expanded Title IX training for CSAs, including RAs, was also created.
Prevention, Education, Support, and Outreach
The College launched a sexual misconduct resources website providing information and assistance for victims/survivors of sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination, as well as details about the College's policies and procedures. Websites for the Title IX coordinator and for the violence prevention educator and advocate have also been launched.
- The Dean of Students Office, in coordination with the Title IX coordinator, required incoming first-year students to take an online course in the fall of 2013. In the fall of 2014 a new online course was implemented that has an expanded focus to cover sexual assault, relationship violence, bystander intervention, and alcohol and drugs for incoming first-year students. Students will be required to take this course each year.
- The violence prevention educator and advocate ensured that education for new students includes information about sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, and where to report such concerns on campus and to law enforcement.
The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) improved alcohol-free social options with events such as Swatoberfest, Comedy Night, and Swacapella Kick-Off Concert. OSE also worked with the SWAT Team to support and monitor events at which alcohol is served.
- Public Safety started offering the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program, a nationally known training that focuses on awareness, education, and self defense.
- Public Safety staff trained SWAT Team members on their role at campus parties. In addition, Public Safety has an enhanced presence at parties to coordinate with SWAT Team members to ensure the parties are as safe as possible.
The Dean of Students office made revisions to alcohol and party procedures to promote safety and well being on campus. The number of SWAT Team party monitors was increased, as were the number required to supervise registered parties. SWAT Team members underwent enhanced training including a workshop with the violence prevention educator and advocate. A medical amnesty policy was put into place. Hard alcohol can no longer be served at registered campus events. The alcohol and drug educator and counselor has also conducted a number of trainings and programs focused on education, prevention, and responsible choices for a variety of groups including first year students, athletes, RAs, and fraternity members.
- The violence prevention educator and advocate and Title IX coordinator expanded prevention education by creating the Sexual Violence Prevention and Healthy Relationships Education Team. This group hosted a talk from national educator and speaker Mike Domitrz in November 2014 and is planning additional programing this semester.
Public Safety purchased two safety focused apps that are now available to the Swarthmore community. SWAT Safety provides information about safety tips, crime prevention measures, and a way for community members to report information and share other concerns. The EmergenSee app is a personal safety device that when activated sends audio, video, and GPS location to the Public Safety communication center.
- The violence prevention educator and advocate facilitated educational sessions for many groups on campus, such as staff, RAs, other peer leaders, and fraternities, including specific workshops for new fraternity members. She also facilitated the workshop, Understanding Consent and Rape Culture for a number of athletic teams.
The violence prevention educator and advocate provided advocacy services to students, cultivating new resources for support, and working across campus to improve accessibility to support. In addition, the advocate sponsored two Survivor Dinners, open to any student who identified as a survivor. These dinners offered a welcoming, safe space for survivors to connect with one another for support, as well as share their experiences as survivors at Swarthmore and learn more about the resources and initiatives that can address their needs.
Spring 2015 Efforts
- The Title IX coordinator created a new position, a Title IX fellow, and hired Abigail Henderson ‘14, who will begin her work in Spring 2015 and help with events, resource development, and prevention education.
- The Dean of Students Office will hire a case manager and educator for community standards to serve as a grievance advisor. This person will assist respondents through the student conduct process and ensure a fair and equitable process exists for both complainants and respondents. The search for this position is currently underway.
- The Title IX coordinator will work with her team to continue to implement the recommendations made by the Sexual Misconduct Task Force.
- The sexual violence prevention educator and advocate will expand the hours in the Women’s Resource Center, providing regular drop in hours and survivor support events in the WRC.
- The sexual violence prevention educator and advocate will offer SAVE Training (Survivor Support and Anti-Violence Advocacy Training) on Feb. 28. This is a full day interactive experience, designed for members of the Swarthmore community who want to increase their knowledge and skills around interpersonal violence prevention and survivor support.
- The Title IX coordinator, in collaboration with Institutional Research and the associate dean for diversity, inclusion and community development, will develop a mechanism for surveying the campus climate on a number of campus issues, including the climate related to sexual misconduct. Results from these surveys will determine the appropriate actions to address climate issues related to sex-based harassment.
- The Dean’s Office, Public Safety, violence prevention educator and advocate, and Title IX office will continue to collaborate to improve the sexual misconduct reporting, investigation, and adjudication processes.
- The Sexual Violence Prevention and Healthy Relationships Education Team will provide a week of programming in February and throughout the spring semester about healthy relationships, consent, and identity.