September 22, 2019 | 77° F

Sexual harassment survey lists Rutgers in multiple accounts

Photo by Facebook |

The Clothesline Project, a visual display bearing witness to all forms of interpersonal violence, is a yearly event hosted by the Office of Victim Prevention and Violence Assitance (VPVA). The organization helps students respond to the impact of interpersonal violence.

Rutgers has been named in an online survey that lists personal accounts of sexual assault in academia. 

"Sexual Harassment in the Academy: A Crowdsource Survey" currently has more than 2,000 anonymous accounts of sexual misconduct since its inception in late November and mirrors other industry-wide campaigns working to expose sexual misconduct, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The document, which includes allegations of everything from sexual assault by professors to off-color comments made in staff meetings, lists at least 11 incidents at Rutgers and continues growing, according to 

Karen Kelsky, a former professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon, posted the document equipped with an online survey where students can post their stories anonymously onto her blog “The Professor Is In,” according to the survey. 

As a way to remind victims that they are not alone, Kelsky plans to speak about the information taken from these personal accounts on her blog and look for recurring patterns across sexual misconduct stories. 

When asked to comment on the list, University spokesperson Dory Devlin said Rutgers is a national leader in sexual violence awareness, education, prevention and survivor assistance, and places the highest priority on maintaining an environment that is free from sexual harassment and sex discrimination, according to an email sent to The Daily Targum. 

“The University has policies and processes in place to address allegations by all individuals who have been subjected to sexual assault, harassment and violence,” she said. “Those processes are confidential and thorough and are managed by trained professionals in human resources or student affairs. We encourage anyone who has been a victim or has a concern to come forward at any time.  The University takes all complaints seriously, maintains confidentiality and prohibits retaliation against those who bring complaints.”

This past Friday, University Human Resources sent an email to all Rutgers employees asking that they complete “Preventing Discrimination and Sexual Violence, Title IX, VAWA and Clery Act for Faculty and Staff” — an online interactive training course that educates staff members about their rights as employees and responsibility to report incidents of sexual misconduct, according to the email. 

“In conjunction with many efforts being made across campus to prevent and address unlawful harassment, including but not limited to sexual violence, we are requiring all employees to take the new online training course,” the email said. 

Employees are required to complete the course within 30 days, which serves as an add-on to the previously prescribed Unlawful Harassment Training courses assigned to University employees. 

Rutgers saw an increase in reported incidents on campus between 2011 and 2014, peaking at 32 reported sexual assaults in 2014, according to the Targum

Data from the U.S. Department of Education, shows that Rutgers is the eighth highest ranked college with reported sexual assault cases nationwide in 2016, despite a decrease between 2014 and 2016 as reported by the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD). 

Efforts to mitigate sexual assaults on campus appear in violence protection campaigns such as “Turn the Campus Purple"   which is dedicated to raising awareness for dating and domestic violence, according to the Rutgers Student Affairs site. 

Additionally, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with students last semester at his "It’s On Us” rally — an event that combined Biden’s personal work with the “It’s On Us” movement, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the University’s efforts to place an end to sexual violence, according to the Targum. 

Biden praised Rutgers for fighting to put an end to sexual violence and challenged students to continue changing cultural norms in America. 

"I promise you, if you keep at this when your daughter is dropped off at a college campus in her freshman year, your first thought as a parent will not be, 'is she going to be safe?' Look what your generation has already taken in. You are the most progressive, tolerant, decent and well-educated generation in history," he said. "That's just a fact."

Christian Zapata

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