Faculty Flash September 30, 2014

University Life Faculty Flash: Addressing Campus Sexual Violence
September 30, 2014

This Faculty Flash is brought to you by the Division of University Life, your partners in educating and supporting Mason students. We will periodically share our expertise that may help you in the classroom.

Recent national attention on campus sexual violence shines a spotlight on the serious problem of sexual assault, interpersonal, and domestic violence on campuses across the country, including ours. These crimes have a big impact on the classroom and community and often result in negative academic, emotional, and physical outcomes for our students.

Women in the traditional college age group, 18 – 24, are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in other age categories. Did you know that the first six weeks of the academic year are especially risky for freshmen and sophomores? It is during this time – known among student affairs professionals as The Red Zone – that these students are at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted.

University Life at George Mason University is committed to working with faculty to do everything possible to eradicate sexual violence and assault on campus. University faculty interact with students on a daily basis and may witness important behavior changes or be recipients of disclosures. Below please find information and tips to help respond to disclosures, and support Mason students.

Five signs that a student may need support:

  • An abrupt or sudden drop in attendance, or an unusual pattern of coming to class late or leaving early
  • Decline in classroom participation/quality of work
  • Failure to turn in assignments
  • Signs of bruising or other injuries
  • Reasons for absences that include multiple hospital or doctor visits

Seven things you can do:

  1. Learn what services are available to help students and others in the campus community. Where to start: Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Services
  2. Tell your students that October is “Turn Off the Violence” month and encourage them to attend events designed to raise awareness and prevent violence. Visit waves.gmu.edu for a list of events.
  3. Consider adding information about Mason’s campus policy and resources to your class listserv or blackboard site. http://universitypolicy.gmu.edu/policies/sexual-harassment-policy/
  4. Write this phone number on your chalkboard: 24 hour Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Crisis Line: (703) 380-1434
  5. Ask, “How can I help?” and then assist with appropriate referrals.
  6. Incorporate the issue of sexual violence into course curriculum where possible and relevant.
  7. Participate in an Emerge workshop through Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Services to learn ways to best respond to survivors of sexual and relationship violence and to create a network of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to supporting survivors.

Title IX considers all employees of the university “Responsible Employees” and as such requires that you have a duty to report any incident of alleged sexual misconduct to the University’s Title Ix Coordinator. Contact the Compliance, Diversity and Equity office to learn more about your responsibilities as a “Responsible Employee” or to reach Mason’s Title IX Coordinator. http://integrity.gmu.edu/

Upcoming Events:

Each October since 1997, WAVES has sponsored Turn Off the Violence week, which is dedicated to helping the Mason community work to end violence against women, and to honor its victims. Turn Off The Violence week brings awareness of sexual violence and dating/partner violence to campus. Below are a few event highlights.

  • October 7, 3:30 – 5:00 pm, HUB Ballroom: Freedom and Learning Forum. President Cabrera will facilitate a conversation with Rosemary Trible, president and founder of Fear 2 Freedom, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of violence and abuse heal. She is the author of Fear to Freedom, in which she shares her journey after being raped at gunpoint.
  • October 7, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, HUB Ballroom: Fear to Freedom. Immediately following the Freedom and Learning Forum, Mason will hold a “Celebration Night”. The program, which is both education and service oriented includes assembling hundreds of “Fear 2 Freedom” after-care kits which are an essential element to healing provided for those affected by sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. The kits that we assemble at Mason, will be distributed to our very own Student Health Services, Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Services, and local area hospitals in Fairfax and Prince William counties.
  • October 7, 7:40 – 9pm, JC North Plaza: Take Back the Night.
  • October 8, 4:30 – 5:30pm, JC Gold Room: Intimate Partner Violence. A panel discussion with survivors and professionals who work with abusers.

Where to get more information:

Thank you for being our partners in student success.

Rose Pascarell
Vice President
University Life
5200 Merten Hall

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