Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A coordinated community response to sexual misconduct on campus is essential to creating a safe and inclusive environment at the University of Iowa. “In order to develop and strengthen the prevention, intervention, and response efforts at Iowa, we need to bring together our community, on and off campus, and identify ways to build on and improve our work,” said Teri Schnelle, director of projects and partnerships for the Division of Student Life. Schnelle worked with colleagues across campus and in the Iowa City community to outline ambitious goals and obtain additional resources to support anti-violence work on campus.

A campus commitment

In 2015, the University of Iowa committed resources to conduct its first institutionally recognized climate survey to understand students’ experiences with sexual misconduct. Utilizing the results, the Anti-Violence Coalition - a campus community response team - transparently shared the results across campus and established a two-year plan in response to student experiences. For the past 14 years, the Anti-Violence Coalition has facilitated collaboration across campus and within the community through working on updating policies and procedures, education and training, and system response. In 2017, campus leaders again committed the resources for the administration of a climate survey. The new three year plan focuses on education, intervention, and policy to support a safe, inclusive environment.

Striving for a larger goal

In September, Schnelle and her colleagues were awarded the Campus Program Grant from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. The $300,000 grant funding will allow them to build on the anti-violence work that is already underway, and has several specific objectives in mind:

  • Goal 1: Support comprehensive prevention education student programs that promote engaging in healthy relationships, engaging as an active bystander, responding effectively to disclosures, and reporting problems.
  • Goal 2: Increase victim support by investing in culturally-based services and trauma- informed approaches.
  • Goal 3: Enhance law enforcement collaboration and training to support increased apprehension, investigation, and adjudication.
  • Goal 4: Ensure fairness, accountability and safety through enhancement of training for misconduct procedure decision-makers.
  • Goal 5: Improve policies, process, and procedures to ensure clarity and effective response.

The project will be a collaborative initiative led by the Schnelle. Major collaborators include the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety, Dean of Students, Domestic Violence Intervention Program, the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, Women’s Resource and Action Center, Rape Victim Advocacy Program, and the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator. Other individuals involved include: Monique DiCarlo, director of OSMRC and Sexual Misconduct Response and Title IX coordinator, David Visin, associate director of the Department of Public Safety and Clery Compliance Officer, Delaney Dixson, assistant executive director of the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, and Angela Ibrahim-Olin, assistant dean and director of student accountability.

“We are excited about this grant and hope that it helps the university’s ongoing commitment to creating a campus community that is safe and inclusive.” said Schnelle.