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Cornell Actions

Cornell University has a long-standing commitment to preventing and responding to sexual violence, and to making the campus a safe, inclusive environment for faculty, staff, and students. See examples below, organized by the seven focus areas of Cornell’s Comprehensive Approach to Sexual Violence Prevention.

Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Wheel

Cornell’s Comprehensive Approach to Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (click to view larger image)

Challenge social and cultural factors

  • Cornell Social Consultants: Cornell Health’s public health fellow (see below) supervises 18 student employees, called Cornell Social Consultants (CSCs). CSC’s work on identifying, developing, and implementing interventions within various student groups and communities to foster positive social interactions and healthy relationships while simultaneously reducing the risk of sexual violence. The CSCs successfully implemented 11 interventions in the Spring 2016.
  • Public Health Fellow: One of Cornell Health’s new public health fellows focuses solely on education and other strategies to prevent sexual violence by working with student leaders to reduce the risk of violence and foster a positive sexual and social culture on campus.  Position started July, 2015.
  • Guest presentation by Dr. Melanie Boyd, Yale University: Preventing Sexual Violence through Positive Culture Change, address to the CSVP on October 9, 2014

Enhance education and outreach

  • “Beyond Consent” Summits: On March 19, 2017 the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, in partnership with the Women’s Resource Center, the LGBT Resource Center, and Campus Activities, brought together 25 student leaders to discuss sexual violence prevention.  The “Beyond Consent” Summit combined educational and strategic planning sessions to enhance student-led efforts on campus.  Summit attendees were engaged in how to shift patterns within social environments that contribute to the risk of sexual violence and proactively create a more positive sexual and social culture at Cornell.
    A second “Beyond Consent” Summit is currently being planned for Fall 2017. This summit will bring together a larger group of students to take part in workshops, panels, and hands-on learning sessions in order to create a more strategic and sustained student-driven approach to sexual violence prevention at Cornell.
  • Student leader training on sexual violence, dating violence and stalking: This training is required for all officers of registered organizations starting in fall of 2016. An online program helps student leaders respond effectively to concerns about these issues and learn more about resources on campus and how to intervene in situations safely.
  • A new bystander intervention video: Produced by the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, the video (entitled “Intervene”) models the application of bystander intervention skills to more than just sexual or dating violence. The video includes seven different scenarios demonstrating ways student bystanders can intervene in real life, complex, problematic situations: sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, bias, hazing, mental health and alcohol emergencies. The video, available in January 2017, will  promote a more comprehensive approach to a safer, more respectful community standard.
  • Sexual violence education at Orientation: All incoming undergraduates participated in “Speak about It,” an educational program on sexual violence. Included new NYS legislation requirements such as the NYS student bill of rights and affirmative consent.  August, 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • Graduate/Professional student orientation: Included bystander intervention concepts, and new NYS legislation requirements such as the NYS student bill of rights and affirmative consent. August, 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • All Athlete Extravaganza: Yearly session covers bystander intervention on sexual violence as well as other college health topics (mental health, AOD, hazing, bias); required for all Varsity athletes, coaches and trainers, August, 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • Graduate Students, Graduate Stories: Included bystander intervention; all students were given a SHARE resource card, August, 2016, 2015, and 2014
  • CORE RAs: CORE RAs are responsible for infusing concepts of respect into their residential communities and into individual RA programs/initiatives, August, 2016, 2015, and 2014
  • Enhanced RA training:  Included new legislation’s requirements such as the NYS student bill of rights and affirmative consent in RA trainings.  August, 2016 and 2015
  • Faculty Symposium: Sexual Assault in Higher Education, April 28, 2015
  • “Take Back the Night” March: sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center, April, 2016 and 2015
  • White Ribbon Campaign: sponsored by Cornell Men Against Sexual Violence (MASV) and Wingman 101, April 20, 2015
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Week, sponsored by Class Councils. Events include a panel discussion, a self-defense seminar, and a bystander intervention seminar, April 2016 and 2015
  • We Step into the Light, sponsored by the Women’s Resources Center a project that raises awareness about sexual assault, relationship and gender-based violence, and stalking through art, April 10-11, 2015
  • Wingfest ’15: Showcase Wingman program and recruit new members, February 6, 2015
  • IFC video: Sexual violence awareness message from Interfraternity Council, October 26, 2014
  • AEM Marketing class collaboration: Marketing effective bystander interventions to help prevent sexual violence at Cornell, Spring 2015
  • IFC resolution requiring chapters provide education on alcohol and sexual violence and bystander intervention in Spring 2015 semester. Public Health Fellows developed a 90 minute program and delivered it to 7 IFC chapters. Cayuga’s Watchers and Wingman 101 also delivered educational programs to IFC chapters, Spring 2015
  • Greek new member Delta Series: Included sexual violence prevention in new member education, February 3, 2015
  • Series of articles in Cornell Chronicle: Communicating what Cornell is doing with regard to issues of sexual violence, Spring semester, 2015
  • Faculty and staff education: Participation in the online course “Respect@Cornell: Eliminating Harassment and Discrimination” reached 6,225 employees, including 5,176 staff employees and 842 faculty and academic employees. Program launched on October 14, 2014
  • Dartmouth Summit on Sexual Assault: Attended by Cornell staff, July 13-15, 2014

Monitor and evaluate climate issues, programs and services

  • A Closer Look at Cornell’s AAU Data: The Research and Evaluation Committee of the Council on Sexual Violence Prevention created brief reports to summarize some of the 2015 AAU Climate Survey data. Review the reports.
  • American Association of Universities Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct: All students invited to participate, April 13-May 1, 2015

Promote help-seeking and reporting

  • “How To Help” staff/faculty handout/resource card: Sent to all staff/faculty, end of January 2015
  • Building a Culture of Respect at Cornell: Required viewing by all new staff and faculty, launched on October 14, 2014

Provide coordinated services and victim support

  • Expansion of Victim Advocacy: In fall 2015, the victim advocacy service expanded from 1 individual to 3 staff, offering confidential support and advocacy to students, staff and faculty. A new poster introducing the advocates was made available for residence halls, bulletin boards and other campus areas.
  • SHARE site: Provides a central resource for up-to-date information about Cornell’s sexual harassment and assault response and education, launched January 2013
  • University Victim Advocates: Provides coordinated support to victims/survivors, 1995 to present

Enhance security of physical and social environment

  • Athletic semester pilot: to develop student-driven interventions that may reduce health risks to safety, including alcohol use and sexual violence, with the goal of changing norms and creating a positive social culture for the team, Spring 2015
  • Panel presentation to Student Life Committee of Board of Trustees, January 28, 2015
  • Incident response: A number of stranger sexual assaults and bias-related incidents  in the Fall of 2012 result in immediate responses such as safety messaging from CUPolice and appointment of an Incident Management Team, who submitted a final report to senior administrators in December 2012.President Skorton addressed these recommendations and clarified next steps in a message to the campus in February 2013.

Enforce laws/policies and sanction offenders

  • New Title IX Coordinator: The university named Sarah Affel as the new Title IX Coordinator. Sarah began her responsibilities in spring, 2016.
  • Employee notification obligations: Informed employees (faculty, staff or student employee) of NYS legislation obligation to advise students who have confided in them about experiencing sexual assault or other related incidents (verbally, in print or online). September, 2015.
  • Hire new Title IX investigator: Workforce Policy and Labor Relations hired one new Title IX investigator for sexual assaults/other related incidents. September, 2015.
  • Policy 6.4 revisions: Updates to policy released August, 2016.  Revisions to procedures for reporting, investigation, and redeeming decisions on incidents in which students are accused of sexual assault.  Changes included:
    • redefining the investigator role and process such that all complaints are referred to the Title IX office;
    • providing for a hearing with a trained panel and gives the parties the opportunity to testify and request witnesses. The hearing panel conducts all questioning;
    • appointing a non-voting hearing chair to preside over the hearing;
    • requiring that the parties are always in separate rooms;
    • giving both parties the assistance of a trained adviser who can accompany them to all meetings and proceedings, provide advice, and help with written submissions;
    • providing for appeals to a three-member panel.
  • Interim Policy 6.4: Updates to policy released August, 2015.  Changes included:
    • Added New York State’s Student Bill of Rights.
    • Updated definitions including the adoption of affirmative consent. Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.
    • Moved all student policy 6.4 investigations to Workforce Policy and Labor Relations, which previously only handed cases involving faculty and staff. The Judicial Administrator’s Office will no longer conduct student investigations, but will remain the appropriate place for students to file a formal complaint. The JA’s Office remains responsible for providing interim accommodations for victims and conducting informal resolutions.
    • Adding a section giving amnesty to bystanders or a victim acting in good faith that discloses any form of sexual violence or other related incident to Cornell officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the Campus Code of Conduct for violations of alcohol and/or drug use occurring around the time of the incident.
  • Policy 6.4 feedback and revisions: The University’s Title IX Coordinator, Lynette Chappell-Williams and other university officials invite feedback for upcoming revisions to Policy 6.4, “Prohibited Discrimination, Protected-Status Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault and Violence”, April-May, 2015
  • Lobbying trip to NY State Capitol: Nina Cummings, University Victim Advocate, and Heather Campbell, Executive Director of the Advocacy Center, met with staffers from the NY State Assembly and State Senate to make recommendations regarding proposed legislation, Mar 17, 2015
  • Congressional Roundtable on Sexual Violence, Response, Education & Prevention: Attended by Cornell representatives, May 13, 2014
  • Washington D.C. advocacy: Cornell Vice President Susan Murphy, Chief of Cornell Police Kathy Zoner, and Victim Advocate Nina Cummings met with staffers from the offices of Senators Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand and NYS Representative Carolyn Maloney to discuss sexual assault on campus, May 9, 2014
  • Policy revisions:Revisions to University Policy 6.4, Prohibited Discrimination, Protected-Status Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault and Violence,” August 2013
  • Bias Response Protocols: New bias response protocols and accompanying reporting process developed by the Executive Committee on Campus Climate, Health, and Safety (ECCCHS) included the formation of the Incident Assessment Response Team (IART), to provide an organized, agile response to incidents that have the potential for significant adverse impact on the Cornell community, Spring 2013