Top Ivy League Institutions Sexual Abuse Claims
Sexual assault on college campuses is a serious problem that plagues students and educational institutions. A study by the Association of American Universities that sought students to participate points out that Ivy League colleges report higher rates of sexual assault than their non-ivy league peers. More disturbing is the finding that these Ivy League campuses have a long history of allegations of sexual misconduct that continue to be reported. Three Harvard graduate students filed the latest lawsuit which alleged years of ignoring their documented complaint of sexual harassment against a professor at the prestigious institution.
There are seven identified Ivy League institutions in the United States. These universities are as follows: Brown, Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton.
In 2015, the Association of American Universities found that five of the seven Ivy League institutions that participated in the study have the highest rates of reported sexual assaults by undergraduate students compared to the twenty-seven participating colleges:
It is important to note that Yale, Dartmouth, and Harvard had the highest student participation in the AAU survey, which may have directly affected the high report rate. Nonetheless, these results show a severe number of sexual misconduct. Moreover, it is vital to note that Princeton University did not participate in the Association of American Universities study.
Ivy League Universities’ Response to Sexual Misconduct Complaints By Students
In response to the prevalent sexual misconduct and sexual harassment complaints by students, Ivy League universities have put numerous initiatives, policies, resources, and procedures to address, prevent, and investigate reports of sex-related crimes on campus or involving staff and students.
Ivy League Universities’ Support Programs Implemented For Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment Victims
Trauma is an integral part of sex-related crimes, and healing would require solid and unwavering support and counselling of the victims. Ivy Leagues has placed support programs for sex-related victims in their response to sexual misconduct and sexual harassment occurrences in their educational community. These resources and programs include the following:
Brown University has two support departments available to sexual misconduct, trauma, and sexual harassment victims,
- Sexual Assault Response Line – This program provides confidential 24/7 telephone line crisis response assistance from licensed mental health professionals.
- SHARE (Sexual Harm Acute Response & Empowerment) Advocates in BWell Health Promotion – This program provides confidential services, including acute responses and ongoing empowerment-based support for a survivor or those close to the survivor. This department also provides advocacy support, such as explaining the victim’s rights, helping file a complaint if the victim chooses to do, and assisting the victim in navigating resources provided by Brown University.
Columbia has set up the Sexual Violence Response & the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (SVR). This centre provides direct services and support to survivors of sexual-related misconduct, harassment, and crimes. Their services include, but are not limited to:
- 24/7 confidential hotline
- Advocacy services for victims include accompanying survivors to the ER, police precinct, and public safety; and assisting victims in exploring their rights and Columbia’s rules.
- Education, workshop, and outreach programs
Dartmouth established a Dartmouth Counseling Center, which provides confidential short-term therapy, 24/7 crisis services, discussion groups, and medical evaluation to students, staff, and faculty.
Harvard’s Office of Gender Equality develops the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education (SHARE) program of the University. This initiative supports all students, staff, and faculty harmed or supporting someone affected by a sex-related crime. Some of the services they provide include, but are not limited to:
- Trauma-informed counselling
- Education and support groups
- A 24/7 confidential hotline
- Community referrals
- Advocacy support whether to explain the University’s procedure and rules in handling sex-related offences and even hospital and police-reporting assistance
University of Pennsylvania
UPenn’s support services span numerous departments and programs.
- Special Services Unit in the Division of Public Safety – Provide various services, including counselling, hospital, and court accompaniment. This department also takes formal police reports.
- Penn Women’s Center – Provides education, advocacy, and support groups for survivors of sexual violence. They also help survivors navigate UPenn’s resources and policies regarding sex-related misconduct and harassment.
- Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – Provides 24/7 counselling and crisis intervention for victims. This group is also composed of the Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention (STOP) Team, a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians that provides confidential care, counselling, and support to student victims of sexual trauma.
- The Office of the Chaplain – Provides confidential religion-based support, counselling, and resources for sex-related misconduct and harassment victims.
- Penn Violence Prevention – Provides educational programs to prevent sexual violence and misconduct.
- Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center – Focused on the LGBT population, this group provides support, education, counselling, outreach program, and support.
- Office of the Ombuds – Provides confidential and neutral services for students, staff, and faculty in assisting with managing problem-solving, conflict, and dispute-resolution matters.
- African-American Resource Center – Focused on students, faculty, and staff of African descent, this group provides advocacy support, counselling, information, referrals, workshops, and informational sessions.
At Yale, their Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education (SHARE) program provides valuable support resources for students, staff, and faculty dealing with sexual misconduct. The program focuses its resources on delivering:
- Crisis support
- Advocacy support
- Conduct awareness education
- Ongoing care and counselling that includes a trauma-informed yoga program
However, it is critical to note that although Ivy League institutions have implemented rules, procedures, and support programs, there is still a long way to go to champion and protect their students from sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.
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