Analysis of Campus Climate Results According to Race/Ethnicity/International Status
March 18, 2016
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
In 2013, a task force was established at Brandeis to advise the university on preventing sexual assault and misconduct within our community, responding effectively when such cases do occur, and creating mechanisms to adjudicate these cases and determine disciplinary actions.
A key step toward meeting these objectives was to administer the 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct, and conduct research on the scope and nature of the problem on our campus. When we released the initial findings from this research last October, we made a commitment to analyzing specific areas that merited deeper exploration.
Today, the Task Force for Sexual Assault Response, Services and Prevention is sharing the results of the first of these specific examinations, which looked at differences in the experiences and attitudes of our students according to their race, ethnicity and international status. The results are deeply troubling, and must be met with meaningful responses and support.
I want to underscore what I said in October: As painful as these data are, we will not shrink from the self-examination and action they demand. We must use this information to improve. As an institution of higher education, we have a special responsibility to set the standard for responding to and supporting those who have experienced sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct is not just an unavoidable byproduct of the culture at large. We denounce the problem, and we must all work together to address it. Everyone on our campus must be able to study, work and live in an environment free from harassment and sexual assault.
I hope you can join us to discuss these findings at a gathering on Tuesday, April 5, from noon to 1 p.m., in Sherman Function Hall.
Lisa M. Lynch
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Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
Like similar studies at universities around the country, Brandeis’ Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct — which was conducted last spring and whose results were released in the fall — discovered rates of sexual assault and misconduct that were unacceptably high and rates of reporting that were far too low.
The Brandeis survey asked participants for data that would permit the Office of the Provost and the Office of Planning and Institutional Research to examine the results according to race, ethnicity and international-student status. (Further analysis, specifically around sexual orientation, is planned for the future.)
Looking at the data according to race, ethnicity and international-student status reveals findings that are deeply disturbing and confirm that different members of the Brandeis community experience sexual misconduct in different ways.
These are some of the key findings:
- Experiences of sexual misconduct and sexual assault varied by race, ethnicity and international status. For example, among undergraduate respondents, 18.5 percent of international students, 23.4 percent of Latinos, 16.9 percent of Asian-Americans, 22.7 percent of blacks, 15.4 percent of whites and 26.9 percent of other minorities experienced being sexually assaulted, including inappropriate sexual touching, fondling, grabbing and groping.
- The decision to tell someone about an experience of unwanted sexual activity also varied according to the race, ethnicity and international status of respondents. Again at the undergraduate level, Latino (83.3 percent), white (74.1 percent) and other minority (70.0 percent) respondents told someone, compared to international (57.1 percent), Asian-American (58.2 percent) and black (58.8 percent) respondents.
- There was tremendous variation around the awareness of available campus resources. At the undergraduate level, white student respondents were most likely to agree with the statement “If a friend or I were sexually assaulted, I know where to go to get help on campus,” while black student respondents were least likely to agree. At the graduate level, Asian-American student respondents were most likely to agree with this statement, while black student respondents were least likely to agree.
Please click here to see the complete set of race/ethnicity/
international status data discovered through the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct.
With this new data in hand, the Task Force for Sexual Assault Response, Services and Prevention is working with the Provost’s Committee for Diversity to ensure that the campus community understands the disparities and can respond effectively to them.
We are continuing to expand services, explore increased adjudication measures, broaden campus outreach and education, institute campus policies, and continue research — and to advocate for doing even more along all these lines. For instance:
- All online and in-person Title IX trainings for faculty and staff, which convey Title IX information, now also include information about populations who are more vulnerable to instances of sexual misconduct.
- The Office of Prevention Services is coordinating conversations among students of color about the intersections of race, gender identity and sexual violence. These sessions will culminate in a public program next month (April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month).
- The Task Force is developing a series of “listening groups” to learn more about the experiences of different populations at Brandeis as well as about how the university can better support them.
- The Office of Prevention Services is working with the Office of Study Abroad along with faculty and graduate students doing fieldwork abroad to improve pre-trip training and support on issues related to sexual violence, racism and other forms of discrimination. Updated trainings will begin as early as this spring.
- A campus climate survey on race is currently being developed by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Planning and Institutional Research.
In addition to the above, the following efforts are underway:
- All members of the university’s senior leadership have received in-person training regarding issues around sexual misconduct and sexual-misconduct investigations.
- The Office of Prevention Services is piloting peer-led Title IX training for all undergraduate TAs regarding sexual-misconduct issues. The office is also piloting peer-led baseline trainings for graduate students on sexual-misconduct issues. The initial trainings will be held for Heller School graduate students, who will participate on a program-by-program basis.
- The Rape Crisis Center hotline (781-736-3370) is now available to everyone in the campus community 24 hours a day. This is a confidential campus resource.
- The Rape Crisis Center has also designed an online program where students can go for answers to questions regarding reporting options and other resources.
- The annual Take Back the Night event is scheduled for Monday, April 4, at 8 p.m. on the Rabb Steps.
Brandeis is a place where lives can be enriched, habits tested, assumptions challenged, and new commitments made. For positive transformations to happen, the university must be a safe and responsive environment for all.The Task Force affirms its commitment to preventing instances of sexual misconduct on campus and to protecting all students.
The Task Force for Sexual Assault Response, Services and Prevention
Kim Godsoe, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, co-chair
Sheryl Sousa, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, co‐chair
Jessica Basile, Director of Graduate Student Affairs
Lisa Boes, Dean of Academic Services
Bernadette Brooten, Myra and Robert Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Professor of Christian Studies
Sam Daniels ’16, Student
Darren Gallant, Assistant Director of Study Abroad
Monique Pillow Gnanaratnam, Assistant Dean of Students
Peter Kalb, Cynthia L. and Theodore S. Berenson Associate Professor of Contemporary Art
Michael LaFarr, Executive Director of Health and Wellness
Conor Lanahan ’16, Student
Susan Lanser, Professor of English; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Comparative Literature
Karen Lengler ’16, Student
Janet McIntosh, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Sheila McMahon, Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Specialist
Bette Reilly, Lieutenant, University Police
Carrie Robertson, PhD Candidate, Psychology
Linda Shinomoto, Director of Employment and Employee Relations; Title IX Coordinator
Rebecca Tillar, Esq., Title IX Investigator/Compliance Officer
Rebecca Torrey, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Timothy Touchette, Director of Community Living
Brendan Weintraub ’16, Student
Elyse Winick, Rabbi, Interfaith Chaplaincy
Steven S. Locke, Esq., General Counsel, ex-officio