August 22, 2019 | 89° F

National report commends Rutgers for its sexual assault prevention efforts

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

The Association of American Universities has cited Rutgers as one of the top contributors to its effort to protect students against sexual assault. Rutgers implemented and improved various programs on campus, such as #iSPEAK and SCREAM theater.

The Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization comprised of 62 distinguished universities that aim to advance society through education, research and discovery, recently published a report on the actions its members are taking to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct on college campuses.

The report, titled Combating Sexual Assault and Misconduct, consisted of results from 55 of the 62 universities in the AAU, with Rutgers—New Brunswick being one of them.

The report says that all the universities represented in this report have changed and added strategies to combat sexual assault and misconduct on their campuses, according to their website.

The report names Rutgers as being a main contributor to the success, according to a Rutgers Today press release.

Rutgers piloted a climate survey developed by the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women as part of a comprehensive campus climate assessment, according to the report.

“We must as an institution adopt a culture of commitment to end sexual violence on campus – a culture of compliance is not enough,” said Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Richard L. Edwards to Rutgers Today. “This report shows that Rutgers has made a commitment and also that, like us, our peer institutions intend to pursue an end to sexual violence on campus.”

The campus climate survey was incorporated by several institutions in various different ways. At Rutgers, they implemented #iSPEAK, which was a survey that allowed students to add their voice to the national discussion about how to eliminate sexual assault at colleges and universities, according to Rutgers.

Rutgers SCREAM Theater was also a part of the report as a case study for the AAU. SCREAM Theater is a peer education program associated with the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) that implements improvised skits to educate students on issues of interpersonal violence, specifically sexual assault, according to the study.

The study reports that Rutgers both modified and enhanced the program and added a position to the VPVA with the goal of focusing on education, advocacy and programming, according to the report.

The University also conducted 21 focus groups, with a level of exposure scale to gauge the effectiveness of efforts to prevent and address sexual assault, according to Rutgers Today.

“Sexual violence is a broad issue that impacts all members of our campus community,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Felicia McGinty. “Prevention, education and culture change are key goals in our effort to end sexual violence. We are working diligently to educate students about consent, the dynamics of healthy relationships and empowering them to be active and engaged bystanders.” 

Chloe Dopico is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is the associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @ChloeDopico for more.

Chloe Dopico

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