Tuesday, June 18, 2024

President Eighmy provides updates on UTSA’s efforts to prevent sexual violence

President Eighmy provides updates on UTSA’s efforts to prevent sexual violence

APRIL 28, 2021 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent via email today from President Taylor Eighmy to all faculty, staff and students:

I believe fully in the notion that universities have a responsibility to be accountable and as transparent as possible – especially when it comes to our efforts around preventing sexual assault and misconduct.

Building on the update sent by Dean LT Robinson last semester, I am writing to share our latest efforts to promote a zero-tolerance environment for sexual violence.

Preventing Sexual Assault and Misconduct Initiative

In 2019, UTSA joined the Culture of Respect Collective, a cohort of 37 institutions of higher education dedicated to ending campus sexual violence. UTSA is currently completing its closing assessment process, which will allow us to improve campus-wide education, survivor support and policies.

Furthermore, a faculty and staff Survivors Alliance was established to educate the community about sexual violence and provide continuing support for survivors. As always, confidential support and advocacy is available by contacting the UTSA PEACE Center at peace.center@utsa.edu or (210) 458-4077.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Every April, UTSA mounts a Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign, and we hosted many events this month centered around the theme of Creating Safe Online Spaces. There are a few opportunities to get involved before the end of April. Today, you can participate in Denim Day. Tomorrow, Veteran and Military Affairs will host Women Warrior Empowerment, a virtual event focused on sexual trauma within the military community.

2019-2020 Annual Report: Equal Opportunity Services/Title IX Office

We have released our second annual report covering the 2019-2020 fiscal year as part of our ongoing effort to provide comprehensive data from investigations handled by the UTSA Equal Opportunity Services/Title IX Office. In addition to serving as a communication and awareness-raising tool, this report helps us to better quantify trends and determine where additional focus is needed.

I’d like to share a few takeaways from the report:

  • In an effort to provide a more holistic review, we’ve included discrimination data in addition to sexual harassment and misconduct reports.

  • 5,466 or 93% of all full and part-time employees, including student workers, completed sexual assault prevention training last year. In addition, prevention training was mandatory for all fall 2020 incoming freshman and transfer students.

  • Based on a survey of students who participated in our sexual assault prevention training, 82% felt that UTSA offered good resources for those going through matters related to sexual harassment and misconduct.

Clery Act Audit

As you may recall from my message last November, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated an audit in 2019 to review UTSA’s campus crime reporting during the 2015-2017 calendar years. The results of the audit were released last fall, and we responded with information regarding how UTSA was addressing the issues identified by the OIG and contesting findings where warranted. We expect to learn about any fines assessed to UTSA this summer.

Creating a Model Clery Compliance Program

To build upon the changes to our Clery compliance program I initiated in 2017, UTSA hired Margolis Healy and Associates LLC, a national consulting practice with vast Clery Act expertise. Last fall, Margolis Healy performed an assessment of past and current campus security functions. UTSA has partnered with Margolis Healy to implement their recommendations.

While the full assessment will be available this summer, almost all of Margolis Healy’s recommendations have been implemented to date. A few notable improvements to campus security include additional training, enhancements to university policies and procedures and the creation of a timely warnings and emergency notifications matrix.

We have made significant progress as we continue to raise awareness, improve transparency and implement critical prevention and remediation measures. While this progress is important, we have more to do and must continually strive to be a national model for preventing sexual violence. This community deserves nothing less. 

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