Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Task Force Update

On August 24, 2021, President Bob Iuliano and Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students Anne Ehrlich outlined the work of the College’s Title IX Task Force, its key recommendations, and the College’s next steps.

Dear Campus Community members,

In December 2020, we announced the formation of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Task Force, chaired by Dr. Anne Douds and comprised of faculty, staff, and students. Throughout the Spring 2021 semester, the Task Force reviewed the College’s sexual misconduct polices, examined literature on best practices, and conducted a thorough analysis of the key components of effective sexual misconduct polices from education and awareness through post-proceedings.

The Task Force has since provided an executive summary of their findings and key recommendations, which have emerged from their review, the collection of feedback from the campus community through focus groups, surveys, and an online form open to all community members.

We thank the members of the Task Force for their time and valuable insights. What follows are the principal steps Gettysburg College will be taking as a direct result of the key recommendations.

Victim Advocate

The Task Force noted that many members of the community did not fully understand the role of the Title IX Director, who has many responsibilities, including to ensure that complaints of sexual misconduct are fully and properly investigated. Due to the Director’s oversight of the investigative process, the position must maintain neutrality in a given case. This is not well understood and, as the Task Force reports, can create frustration and confusion by those seeking help from the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX.

Based on the Task Force’s recommendations, we are taking two steps. First, as noted more fully below, the website for the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX will be updated to speak more clearly about the role of the Director and how students may access confidential resources.

Second, in response to the Task Force’s recommendation to create an additional designated confidential resource, the College has developed a partnership with Adams County Sexual Assault Services to bring a Victim Services Advocate directly to campus. Emily Uleau will be on campus Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon to 3 p.m. in Chapel Basement 6 as a confidential resource for all of our campus community members. You can drop in to see Emily or you can schedule a meeting with her via email at euleau@pcar.org.

This is the first step in responding to the need for an additional confidential resource outside the Office of Sexual Respect, and we will continue to collect feedback and evaluate the need for additional confidential campus resources as the year progresses.

New Education and Training Efforts

  • All students have been assigned a mandatory violence prevention online learning module through engageGettysburg, the online campus engagement platform launched in Fall 2020 that includes a downloadable mobile app. These modules provide targeted content based on the developmental needs of each class year. All students are required to complete their module by an assigned due date in Fall 2021. In addition, all required violence prevention training and education for athletes and new members in Greek Life have been updated to build upon this training and provide relevant information for these groups.
  • The Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX, in collaboration with Human Resources, will be making in-person training sessions available to all faculty. Training was previously only available through an online module. These trainings will provide faculty with tools to most effectively support student survivors in the classroom, and will include clear information about students’ options regarding whether or not to report and how to access resources. The training will also help faculty better understand the Title IX process, where students can turn for access to a confidential resource, and the role of the Title IX Office.
  • The College will be launching the It’s On Us Campaign this academic year, and will hold the It’s On Us Week of Action, September 27 - October 1. During this week, campus community members will engage in various events and sign the It’s On Us Pledge, coming together as a community to take a visible stand against sexual misconduct.
  • The Office of Sexual Respect and the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life will be relaunching the Not In Our House initiative beginning this fall. The Not In Our House program engages a cohort of current members of Greek organizations in a series of violence prevention education workshops designed to build a culture of respect on campus.

Resources

  • The Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX has created new resource materials, as well as reviewed and edited former materials for those who have been affected by sexual misconduct and/or relationship violence. Materials were reviewed by students, in addition to local experts with backgrounds in social work, advocacy in domestic violence and sexual assault, and education. You will see this new content on bulletin boards, in restrooms, and in other locations throughout campus, including QR codes for easy access to resources.
  • The Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX is also actively working with Communications and Marketing to revise its website, making it easier to navigate and access pertinent information. These revisions are based on feedback collected from the Task Force, and the College will seek student input on these revisions before the newly designed site goes live.
  • The Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX has also added Sexual Misconduct Resources content in the engageGettysburg app. Students can now access these vital resources at their fingertips without having to download a separate app to their devices.

The Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX remains committed to providing annual data overviews for the campus community in October of each year, providing transparency surrounding the reports received by the Title IX Office and the resolution processes taken by our campus community. Furthermore, the Sexual Violence and Healthy Relationship Committee (SVHR) will begin meeting again during Fall 2021. SVHR is open to all members of the campus community, bringing together those who provide violence prevention programming and those who wish to assist in violence prevention and awareness efforts for the campus. Additional information about SVHR will be provided via the campus digest at the start of the fall semester for those who wish to participate.

We once again express our gratitude to all members of the Task Force, the students who served in an advisory capacity to the Task Force, and all campus community members who shared their feedback or participated in the focus groups and surveys. Your commitment to this work allows us to further enhance our goal of creating an environment where everyone is safe and free from sexual violence, sexual harassment, and other unacceptable behaviors. We must continue to come together as a community and dedicate ourselves to this important work, as individuals and as an institution.

As always, we welcome your continued engagement of these essential issues. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Amanda Blaugher, Title IX Director, if you have any further thoughts about how the College might best create the safest community for all of our members.

Sincerely,

Bob Iuliano
President

Anne Ehrlich
Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students