Everyone at the University of Oregon has the right to be free from sexual violence and harassment, and together we share the responsibility to provide a safe environment for teaching, learning, and research on campus.
Sexual violence and harassment in any form must not be tolerated. It is our shared responsibility to foster and demand a culture in which the prevention of sexual violence and harassment is paramount, reporting expectations and processes are clear, excellent support services are readily available and easily accessible, and those who violate our policies receive appropriate discipline. As we begin spring term and Sexual Violence Prevention Month, I write to reaffirm my commitment to ensuring a safe campus for all. Anything less is contrary to the values of our institution, and to the commitment we make to our students and each other.
The UO’s efforts to create a campus free of sexual violence and harassment begin with prevention. The university has in place a robust set of initiatives designed to inform and educate students, faculty, and staff about how they can help prevent sexual violence and harassment and promote bystander intervention.
These initiatives include a new website, scheduled to launch this month, that provides comprehensive information about preventing and reporting sexual violence and harassment, as well as support resources for students who have experienced sexual violence and harassment. The Dean of Students Office is hiring an additional staff member to oversee our prevention efforts and coordinate student-led prevention initiatives. In addition, there are many groups and individuals committed to addressing this issue, including the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention; the student-driven Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT); the Student Affairs Sexual Violence Support, Prevention, and Education staff; and a new student advisory team that will promote prevention efforts.
Many programs seek to educate the campus community about preventing sexual violence and harassment, including:
- All new students under the age of 21 entering the university are required to take the online course module, AlcoholEdu and a sexual assault course module, Haven.
- The Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) conducts an educational performance during IntroDUCKtion, “It Can’t be Rape,” and provides numerous prevention presentations and workshops throughout the year on campus.
- SafeRide prevention shuttle offers all UO students, faculty, and staff a comfortable and safe means to travel at night.
- At the start of each school year the Red Zone Campaign, sponsored by the ASUO Women’s Center and Dean of Students Sexual Violence Prevention and Education program, educates students about sexual violence.
- The University Counseling and Testing Center provides confidential counseling sessions and offers resources on its website.
- A sexual violence prevention internship partnership between the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education program and University Housing launched in the fall of 2013 to address prevention in all housing complexes.
- The Dean of Students Office and International Affairs are finalizing a video that will address interpersonal violence with our international student population.
- The ASUO Women’s Center and community non-profit, Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS), coordinate the annual Take Back the Night rally each April.
- The ASUO Men’s Center addresses sexual violence on campus through programs including sexual communication workshops, presentations to classes about men’s role in preventing sexual violence, and the “Break the Cycle” event in April.
- All university employees are required to complete an online training program on Workplace Harassment Prevention.
When sexual violence does occur, it is critical that survivors have access to reporting options and be connected with support services. Students who have experienced sexual violence or harassment have confidential and non-confidential options for reporting the incident. In the past year, we have added three additional staff positions to facilitate this support—one each in the UO Police Department, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Office of Affirmative Action. The University Counseling and Testing Center has created a new Interpersonal Violence Response Team comprising five senior clinical staff members and at least one doctoral intern, all of whom have extensive training or experience with trauma treatment. Additionally, the University Health Center provides confidential physical and emotional care following incidents of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.
Reported incidents of sexual violence and harassment are taken very seriously and are thoroughly investigated by the Office of Affirmative Action and through the student conduct code process. We also work closely with law enforcement when appropriate.
The Office of the Dean of Students has prepared a comprehensive resource guide for the UO community to help students who have experienced sexual violence or harassment, including domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This guide outlines support services that are available from the university, in the community, and through law enforcement, and explains how to access each of these options. The new 24/7 Sexual Violence Response and Support Services hotline is 541-346-SAFE (7233).
If you have comments, suggestions, or questions about the University of Oregon’s sexual violence and harassment prevention and support efforts please contact Sheryl Eyster, associate dean of students. For more information about employees’ reporting responsibility and students’ reporting options when faculty or staff is involved please contact Penny Daugherty, director, Office of Affirmative Action.
All of these initiatives and resources form a larger, campus-wide effort to provide students with an integrated, accessible prevention and support system that clearly and unequivocally demonstrates our commitment to the safety, security, health, and dignity of each member of our campus community.
Michael Gottfredson, President