Wednesday’s Town Hall to announce sexual assault survey results

wave of change

Courtesy of Nick Romanenko

Vice chancellor for student affairs Felicia McGinty.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, almost a quarter of undergraduate women experience rape or sexual assault. In one week Tulane will know how it stacks up against the national statistics with the release of the sexual assault climate survey results.

At the All-Campus Town Hall on Jan. 31, President Mike Fitts, Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President Tania Tetlow and Title IX Coordinator Meredith Smith will be presenting the data collected by the campus climate survey last spring and answering audience members’ questions. Smita Ruzicka, assistant vice president for Campus Life, will moderate the event.

“The survey itself was a culture-changing moment because 47 percent of our entire student community, undergraduate and graduate, Uptown and Downtown, participated,” Tetlow said.

After submitting the data for an extensive review, the administration is providing Tulane community members the opportunity to come together to recognize the problems affecting students and formulate solutions to these problems.

“The minute we began processing our campus climate survey data last summer … we realized we needed to do much more than national best practices,” Tetlow said. “We realized we needed to begin that work right away, even before we finished processing and validating our survey data.”

Late last year, the Wave of Change initiative was created in the hopes of seeking innovative solutions to sexual violence on Tulane’s campus. Wave of Change has assembled a panel of experts in campus sexual assault prevention to improve these efforts.

According to The Wave of Change website, “Together, the panelists’ expertise spans empirical research, policy design addressing perpetration and impact on survivors, and the intersections of sexual violence with race, gender identity and sexual orientation.”

The new expert panelists include Felicia McGinty, Kevin Swartout, Ray Douglas, Tracy Hipp, L.B. Klein, Lynn Rosenthal and Lisa Wade.

McGinty is an expert in sexual violence education, advocacy and prevention, and the creation of climates that provide support for diverse student populations.

Under McGinty’s leadership as vice chancellor for student affairs at Rutgers University, Rutgers-New Brunswick’s evidence-based, comprehensive approach has been highlighted by the White House, showcased by multiple professional associations and featured by outlets including The New York Times and National Public Radio.

Tetlow is confident that the expert panel, combined with Tulane’s commitment to addressing issues related to sexual violence, will promote positive change on campus.

“Tulane has worked for years to become a leader in the response to sexual violence on campus, including hiring a full-time Title IX Coordinator, instituting mandatory prevention programs for all undergraduates and offering One Wave bystander intervention training,” Tetlow said.

In addition to the efforts from the expert panel, The Wave of Change focuses on facilitating student-led involvement and ensuring the health and safety of the Tulane community.

“These are issues of crucial importance to our students and to our community, and we must come together to work on solutions,” Tetlow said.

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