during first-year orientation.1 Together, these programs
make up the education that first-year students receive over the course of their
arrival at Trinity.
education does take place, albeit in lesser amounts, at higher grade levels
principally through voluntary involvement in various campus organizations and
communities. In their sophomore year, students receive mandatory bystander
intervention training from the Women and Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC).
Further, students who seek membership in Greek social life organizations and
those who are members of Trinity-sanctioned sports teams are also required to attend
training from WGRAC. The aforementioned programs are also offered to any
organization or entity affiliated with the college that requests training.2 Moreover, WGRAC proffers a
myriad of programs whose intent is to inculcate proper education for students,
specifically: Take Back the Night, the Vagina Monologues, and Voices Raised in
Power. Each of these programs represents further opportunities for educational
outreach to students and are also largely student-driven educational
initiatives; however, they are not compulsory and, therefore, their message may
not always carry appreciable efficacy.
Trinity College has clearly continued to make efforts in recent years to
address the pervasiveness of sexual assault on campus, the issue remains an
endemic one due largely to a lack of financial resources and programming at recurrent
intervals. Indeed, without mandatory educational programming per annum, there is
a marked increase in the likelihood that invaluable information will not be
retained by students, ergo, increasing program frequency is imperative.3 Furthermore, without the dedication
of requisite financial resources, the effectuation of new programs will remain
an impossibility, thereby further restricting educational initiatives.
Assault Education: A Five-Point Plan for Success
Herein are five propositions that supplement
current programs with the objective of
redressing the continued preponderance of sexual assault at
Trinity College, bearing in mind that considerable and efficacious efforts have
heretofore been undertaken on behalf of the College by various entities,
including the Dean of Students Office, the Title IX Coordinator, and the WGRAC,
the Readability of Informational Literature
Trinity presently simplifies and
explicates its Policy on Sexual Misconduct4
informational booklet “Your Rights—Your Options,” which outlines
the complaint filing process, the levels of employee responsibility, and the
options available for students to redress their grievances.5
While this document makes an effort to elucidate Trinity’s guidance, there are
interesting alternatives to make the information more accessible that have been
undertaken at other institutions of higher education. One of the most promising
is the concept of an informational process flowchart, describing through visual
step-by-step directives the actions taken by the school and the individual
following the filing of a report. Trinity uses a flowchart model within its
publication, but its emphasis on employees and their responsibility levels
rather than the process itself leaves room for amendment. Indeed, the process flowchart
has been incorporated into the policies of a myriad of institutions, including Ithaca
College and the University of California Berkeley and has seen considerable success.6
The simple adoption of a flowchart model that emphasizes the process engenders
an easier dispensation of sexual assault reporting information for students and
requires limited financial resources.
Yearly Sexual Assault Educational Programming
As has heretofore been indicated, the
frequency of sexual assault education is a critical factor with respect to ensuring
greater reporting and a concomitant reduction in incidences of sexual assault. Therefore,
augmenting voluntary programs offered by WGRAC with yearly reviews of sexual
assault education is imperative towards assuring its reduction. The current
program— “You, Me, We”—offers an excellent introductory education for freshman
and should be retained, as should the bystander training proffered to
sophomores. For juniors and seniors, programming should occur,7
with an emphasis on addressing sexual assault in a more forthright manner. Indeed,
implementing a program for upperclassmen that is more multifarious in its
coverage should be acquired and retained by Trinity.
Gender-specific prevention programs
have demonstrated considerable efficacy with respect to increasing the
expansiveness of sexual assault education. Indeed, a program that meets the
aforesaid parameters has been adopted by the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and
Windsor and has exhibited considerable improvement with respect to curtailing
the culture. The program educates only female students on ways to detect and
deter attempted rape and has considerably reduced the risk of sexual assault
for those who participated in the program.8
Ergo, consideration should be given to gender-specific preventative programs by
Yearly Alcohol Educational Programming
Alcohol is concomitant with sexual
assault and is indeed a factor in the majority of
As with the frequencies of sexual assault education, concurrent education
apropos alcohol consumption is imperative towards informing students about the
implications of alcohol use. Programs such as the social norms campaign that
has been implemented at Dartmouth College are an example of those that diverge
from a traditional classroom setting but aim to raise considerable awareness with,
again, an investment from members of the student body.10
Herein, Trinity College should indeed consider the adoption of a social norms
campaign surrounding alcohol consumption so as to maintain an awareness amongst
students of both alcohol prevention contemporaneous with sexual assault
Programs Directed by Students
Further, actively involving students
not only in the implementation of voluntary programs but also in those that are
mandatory allows students to become invested in the mitigation of sexual
assault. Institutions such as Boston College and Colby have undertaken “peer-led
training sessions” for students in their sophomore year—specifically on the
matter of bystander training—which offers students an opportunity to become
engrossed in the mission of the institution and in the mission of its
Indeed, peer-led programming is evident in a number of initiatives highlighted in
the Task Force report, including the “It’s On Us Pledge” and the “Green Dot
Program,” and Trinity should indeed consider these in its offerings.12
memorandum implores the aforementioned to consider the inclusion of these
programs at Trinity College, as they are indeed critical apropos attenuating
sexual assault, with
an understanding that the institution must
first attain the concomitant fiscal appropriations.
1 “About,” Speak About
It, last modified 2016, http://speakaboutitonline.com/about/.
2 Adrienne Fulco and
Laura R. Lockwood, “Title IX: Changing Campus Culture” (lecture, Trinity
College, Hartford, CT, December 7, 2017).
3 McMahon, “Sexual
Violence on College Campuses,” 362.
4 Sexual Assault
Response Team (SART), Your Rights—Your Options
(Hartford, CT: Trinity College, August 2017).
5 Trinity College, Policy on Sexual Misconduct (Hartford,
CT: Trinity College, 2016).
6 Hardison et al., Evidence-based Review of Sexual Assault
7 Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, Preventing
and Addressing Campus Sexual Misconduct, 8-9.
8 Jan Hoffman, “College
Rape Prevention Program Proves a Rare Success,” The New York Times, June 10, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/health/college-rape-prevention-program-proves-a-rare-success.html.
9 Antonia Abbey, Ph.D.,
et al., “Alcohol and Sexual Assault,” National
Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, vol. 25, no. 1 (1997): 46.
10 “Social Norms
Campaign,” Dartmouth College, last modified 2017, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~healthed/focus/aod/norms.html.
11 Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health: U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, Final Report of the Panel on Prevention and Treatment (April
12 White House Task
Force, Preventing and Addressing Campus Sexual