News

Eliminating sexual misconduct together


 

The following communication was sent to the JMU community on Feb. 20, 2020.

To JMU students, parents, faculty and staff,

You have probably heard by now that the U.S. Department of Education is working toward issuing new regulations related to how colleges should handle allegations of sexual misconduct under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. As an institution that accepts federal funds, James Madison University complies with Title IX, and the law underpins our efforts to ensure fairness and equity in our sexual misconduct processes and policies.

Ahead of the new regulations, we have been collaborating with student leaders within the Student Government Association to address several areas where we can continue to improve as a community. We would like to share an update on the work being done at the university to strengthen processes, policies, prevention strategies and resources offered related to sexual misconduct. Our recent work includes:

Forming a Sexual Misconduct Prevention Alliance. Established in 2018 and co-chaired by Vice Presidents Donna Harper and Tim Miller, this alliance is tasked with enhancing training, awareness, prevention and education and is composed of faculty, staff and students from across campus.

Implementing a new sexual violence prevention program for incoming students.Beginning in Fall 2020, first-year students will undergo interactive workshops focused on healthy relationships, exploring topics of healthy sexual and/or romantic relationships and consent in relationships. Additionally, students will be informed about policies governing appropriate relationships this summer during Springboard.

Administering a campus-wide climate study. Faculty, staff and students will participate in a broad study in the 2020-21 academic year regarding their beliefs and experiences related to various aspects of the JMU culture, including all areas of diversity as well as sexual misconduct, to include harassment and discrimination.

Increasing training for university faculty and staff. The university is finalizing plans to increase the level of Title IX compliance training and prevention education for new and existing faculty and staff beginning Fall 2020. This will build on the current training required of all new faculty and staff and also will include an annual training requirement. JMU will leverage a new technology solution that offers immersive scenarios and videos to address topics related to sexual misconduct, survivor support and student disclosure.

Adding an additional Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate in The Well. This summer, the University Health Center will train an additional staff member to serve as a Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate, bringing the total number of individuals trained to meet with and support students to five.

Offering a 24/7 Counseling Center Resource. Beginning in Fall 2020, JMU will provide a 24/7 phone consultation resource for all students to receive counseling support. Information about accessing this resource will be communicated widely to students prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Revising sexual misconduct policies and processes on an annual basis. The JMU Student Handbook and University Policy 1340 outline processes used to resolve allegations of sexual misconduct from employees, students, affiliates and visitors. As has been the practice for many years, feedback from the university community is collected throughout the year and used to inform updates to both that increase clarity and transparency throughout the process.

It is also worth noting the university’s ongoing sexual violence prevention and survivor advocacy efforts. Housed in the University Health Center, JMU’s sexual violence prevention team oversees a variety of programming for students, faculty and staff including Green Dot bystander intervention education. They also offer survivor advocacy services, providing a safe and confidential resource for JMU students impacted by sexual violence.

We care deeply about protecting our students’ well-being and remain committed to eliminating sexual misconduct on our campus. We are thankful for your support as we continue to work toward this goal together.

Sincerely,
Heather Coltman, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Donna Harper, Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management
Tim Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs

Back to Top

Published: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Related Articles