October 6, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2017
University of Alaska launches climate survey to measure sexual violence on campuses; October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Anchorage – Beginning Oct. 10, students across the University of Alaska system will be asked to take part in a climate survey intended to measure how often sexual violence or harassment occurs on campuses and how students perceive such violence.
The voluntary survey will be conducted by Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein of the UAA Justice Center. The goal is to better understand how often incidents are occurring, to create more awareness about sexual harassment and violence, and to make students aware of what to do if an incident does occur.
Approximately 10,000 degree-seeking undergraduate students will receive an email asking them to complete the survey. Results are expected to be published in January 2018.
The climate survey is part of the university’s Voluntary Resolution Agreement (VRA) signed in February with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Even before entering into the agreement, the university had made significant progress in meeting the terms of OCR’s “Dear Colleague” letter.
“Two years ago, in October 2015, the University of Alaska became the only university in the country to publicly admit its shortcomings,” said UA President Jim Johnsen. “Since then, we have been, and continue to be, committed to being a part of the solution. While we recognize that more work is needed, we are absolutely committed to making our campuses safer.”
Since signing the VRA, the university has met all of OCR’s required deadlines for improved policies, revising the language in its Notice of Nondiscrimination, providing the agency all case documentation and meeting new mandatory training requirements.
“It’s no coincidence that the climate survey will reach our students in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Johnsen said. “We want students to understand that domestic violence and sexual assault remain real problems that we are committed to addressing on our campuses.”
“During October, the university recommits itself to providing effective and balanced measures for due process as well as fair and thorough investigations when incidents occur; and, to impose fair and effective sanctions when warranted,” Johnsen said. “I remain vigilant about improving campus safety, and training our staff, faculty and students about preventing sexual harassment.”
Johnsen has said that even as Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss considers revisions to how OCR will implement changes to the Title IX program, the university will continue to abide by its Voluntary Resolution Agreement as well as policies established by the Board of Regents.
For information about the climate survey, contact Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, assistant professor UAA Justice Center, 813-416-2550 (cell) or 907-786-1856 (desk).
For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell) or 907-786-1190 (desk).