Demands for UVM in Response to the Systemic Mishandling of Sexual Misconduct
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The University of Vermont has systemically failed survivors of sexual violence on our campus. Systemic changes are needed at the University to truly support survivors and prioritize the safety of all students. The UVM administration needs to be held accountable for its failure to support survivors of sexual violence.
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In 2014, the University of Vermont was among the 10 schools with the most reports of rape. UVM had 18 reported cases of rape in 2019, and as rape and sexual misconduct are among the most underreported crimes in the United States total cases are likely higher.
UVM only employs one Campus Victims Advocate with an undergraduate population of over 11,000 undergraduate students.
The Rape Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN) states that “Among undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. 5.8% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.” If these statistics from RAINN hold, that means that nearly 3,018 female undergraduate students at UVM have experienced rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
According to RAINN, “Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault”
The overwhelming majority of sexual assault and rape go unreported. According to RAINN, “Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 230 are reported to the police, only 46 lead to arrest, and only 4.6 rapists will be incarcerated”
Students at UVM who hold marginalized identities including but not limited to BIPOC students, AAPI students, LGBTQ+ students, etc. all are at elevated risk for experiencing sexual violence in their lifetimes.
UVM’s comparator institutions including, Boston College, Boston University, Syracuse University, George Washington University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst all have a 24/7 private hotline for student survivors of sexual violence. Boston College Sexual Assault Network (SANET) includes “a 24/7 private hotline for anyone affected by sexual violence (even if the caller is not a survivor), staffed by trusted and trained advocates, and callers have the option to remain anonymous.”
WE DEMAND that UVM conduct an independent investigation into the UVM’s Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Title IX Office, including the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy IX Coordinator, Title IX Intake and Outreach Coordinator, and all investigators to restore the UVM student body’s trust.
WE DEMAND that the UVM administration hires between 3-4 more Campus Victims, Advocates, to serve as confidential counselors to all undergraduate student survivors of sexual misconduct effective Fall 2021.
WE DEMAND that the UVM administration seeks to review a diverse pool of Campus Victims Advocates, as sexual violence affects all UVM students including BIPOC, AAPI, LGBTQ+, and male-identifying individuals on our campus.
WE DEMAND that UVM establish a Sexual Violence Response Team as a part of the University’s Student Health Services Department. The Sexual Violence Response Team must include 5 employees including A Director, An Assitant Director, and three to four Campus Victims Advocates effective Fall 2021.
WE DEMAND that every counselor employed through UVM Counseling and Psychiatric Service (CAPS) undergo annual training on how to support survivors of sexual abuse, violence, and harassment.
WE DEMAND that UVM’s Department of Residential Life requires all Residential Advisors to undergo sexual violence and harassment training each semester to understand how to effectively support students and to be able to effectively communicate on-campus resources available to students at the University.
WE DEMAND, that UVM creates 24/7, 365 day-a-year hotlines specifically for student survivors of sexual violence and harassment. We encourage UVM administrators to research, review, and create an internship or volunteer program for undergraduate students in the College of Education and Social Services who are interested in gaining experience in the field of sexual violence advocacy and hope to support student survivors. We encourage UVM administrators to refer to Boston University Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center which provides undergraduate students with these opportunities.
WE DEMAND that the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and UVM Title IX Director review every survey response given by UVM Students in the survey created by Explain The Asterisk to effectively understand the University’s systemic failure to support survivors of sexual violence on our campus thus far.
To all the survivors at UVM know that we hear you, we see you, and we believe you. Thank you for your courage, and know that you are not alone.
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