Preparing for new Title IX regulations

In anticipation of draft Title IX regulations being issued by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the October UI Anti-violence Coalition meeting focused on demystifying the rulemaking process.  Coalition members identified ways they would share information and encourage other stakeholders to participate in the open comment period. Coalition members hosted post-card writing sessions, workshops, and information tables in the IMU. On November 16th, 2018, Secretary DeVos released the proposed Title IX rules and the open public comment period closed in January 2019.  The University of Iowa conducted a thorough review of the U.S. Department of Education’s new proposed Title IX rules on sexual misconduct for higher education institutions.  Members of the Office of Student Accountability, University Human Resources, the Office of General Counsel, Threat Assessment Team, Department of Public Safety, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity served on the review committee. The Title IX Coordinator met and consulted with members of the Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct, University of Iowa Student Government, Graduate Professional Student Government, confidential victim advocacy agencies, and other members of the UI Anti-violence Coalition as each readied to submit their written response to the proposed rules. The university letter formally submitted on January 30, 2019 can be found on the OSMRC website. Final rules were expected to be issued in fall 2019.

Late Night Programming Effort & Support for Student Organizations

Data from the 2017 Speak Out Iowa Survey indicates that for students who reported experiencing sexual violence victimization, alcohol and/or drug use prior to the incident was common. In response to this data, we have continued to collaborate with the campus and community alcohol harm reduction efforts. The Coordinator for Late Night Initiatives & Assessment attended the Anti-violence Coalition meetings to share late night programming updates and strengthen the connection between the Anti-violence Coalition and the Alcohol Harm Reduction Advisory Committee. Slides on helping a friend who has been harmed were added to the alcohol harm reduction training provided to student organizations, and a work group was charged with developing recommendations for policy, procedures, programs, or messaging that support protective environments on campus.

Hawk Talks: Prevention and Education

Academic year 2018-19 saw the implementation of Hawk Talks as a part of the Residence Education Model (REM) curriculum. Several times each semester, students were engaged in 1-on-1 conversations with their Resident Assistants (RAs), or Hawk Talks.  These purposeful conversations provided an opportunity for each resident to have a direct, communicative relationship with their RA.  The talks also allowed RAs to hear about students’ experiences and provide references to campus resources while building relationships. In Spring 2019, one of the Hawk Talks was specifically focused on prevention and education by asking the following questions of students during the talk: 1) Do you know how to help a friend who discloses about an experience with sexual misconduct? and 2) Do you know how the OSMRC helps students? 

During the 2019 calendar year, we recorded 3994 completed Hawk Talk conversations in residence halls on this topic.  Other conclusions drawn from feedback on this Hawk Talk are as follows:

  • One-fifth of the students who participated indicated that they had heard of the OSMRC.
  • Students reported having heard of OSMRC through involvement with FSL, On Iowa!, Success@Iowa, campus-wide emails and signs posted in campus restrooms.
  • Half of students reported that they would refer a friend to resources if they disclosed an experience with sexual misconduct.
  • 10% of students responded that they would listen and provide support to a friend who disclosed an experience with sexual misconduct, then refer them to resources.

UI-CERB Program Presented at 53rd ABCT National Convention

The UI-CERB program was developed by Monique DiCarlo (UI TIXC), Dr. Erika Lawrence (Northwestern University), Jennifer Duchschere (University of Arizona), and Samantha Reznik (University of Arizona) as an adaptation of ACT practices to target sexual misconduct and dating violence on college campuses and was implemented on the UI campus in the fall of 2017.  The authors of this unique program had an opportunity to present their findings at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 53rd Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA held November 21-24, 2019.  A summary of the presentation follows:​​​​​​​

11.7% of students and 23.1% of women report experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact during college (AAU, 2015). In response to this problem, federal law requires a disciplinary response to sexual misconduct on college campuses (Koss et al., 2014). However, many offenders remain enrolled in college without any mandatory intervention. As such, evidence-based interventions for this population are sorely needed.

We developed a novel intervention for college student offenders who remain enrolled and were found responsible for sexual misconduct (which comprises harassment, exploitation, intimidation, and assault), domestic/dating violence, and/or stalking. Adapted from Lawrence et al.’s (2014) ACTV intervention, our new intervention (CERB) was implemented at the University of Iowa with their sexual misconduct response team.

To date, 13 students have completed all 15 sessions individually with trained facilitators and approximately 20 students will complete CERB by November 2019. Participants vary by self-identified gender, sexual orientation, and offense. In response to open-ended questions, facilitators reported that they were able to implement the intervention with participants and participants were able to learn ACT and adapt it for target behaviors. Half of facilitators reported that their participants grasped the majority of the concepts, and 70% reported that their participant changed their discussion of the original incident in line with CERB concepts. Additionally, 90% of facilitators believed that their participant would change their future behavior. Participants completed open-ended questions and measures of ACT concepts before and after CERB, such as the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire and Valuing Questionnaire.

The results of this study have significant implications for understanding how ACT can be adapted for non-voluntary participants and for preventing sexual misconduct on college campuses. Data continue to be collected and efforts are underway to expand implementation to other colleges.