University News

This Week in Higher Ed: Feb. 11, 2015

University News Editor
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dartmouth plans sexual assault initiative

Dartmouth will implement a mandatory four-year sexual assault awareness and prevention program for all students this fall that emphasizes education and bystander awareness, the Dartmouth reported Thursday.

The program will draw from existing resources focused on sexual assault education, such as the Dartmouth Bystander Initiative. Its goal is to ensure students have both introductory and in-depth understandings of issues related to sexual assault, multiple administrators told the Dartmouth.

Student feedback will play a major role in designing the program. “We want to utilize the students’ knowledge, experiences and inputs as we develop this program,” Amanda Childress, a program coordinator, told the Dartmouth. “It’s important for students to know that they will be part of this, because we want this to be really inclusive.”

Program developers aim to incorporate concepts relevant to all students across class years. “The experiences students have coming in change as they progress through their time at the College, so we need a program that adapts with students and their understanding of the issues they might be having,” Shanet Hinds, outreach and communications chair of the Student Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault, told the Dartmouth.

Harvard explicitly bans professor-undergrad sexual relations

Sexual relationships between faculty members and students have been officially prohibited at Harvard, the Washington Post reported Thursday. The ban did not result from a particular instance of such a relationship, but rather from the lack of formal codification of the rule, Alison Johnson, Harvard history professor and leader of the panel that established the policy, told the Post.

“We’re using this opportunity to reaffirm our priorities as teachers … and to imagine what we’re seeing when we’re looking at these students, and what we’re not seeing,” Johnson told the Post. “We’re not seeing potential romantic partners. We are seeing students.”

The ban applies only to students and professors in direct interaction through teaching and grading, the Post reported.

“I like to think of it not as telling students who they may not have sex with … but telling faculty who they may not have sex with,” Johnson added.

Meetings with students, professors and other community members produced valuable discussion and insight, with some faculty members expressing concern about needless monitoring of private life, the Post reported.

The ban comes in the midst of several sexual assault cases pending under Title IX and follows Harvard’s plans to reassess its sexual assault policies.

Shooting at USC deemed murder-suicide

Investigators determined that a shooting Thursday resulting in multiple deaths at the University of South Carolina was a murder-suicide, the State reported Thursday.

The identities and potential USC affiliations of those involved have yet to be released, though State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said “there was no active shooter other than the two deceased” in a statement that afternoon.

Several students told the State that the shooting occurred in a room on the fourth floor of a research building. The university sent a campus-wide text alert that afternoon urging community members to “seek safe shelter” as the campus went into lockdown, the State reported. City, county and state police closed nearby streets and put up yellow caution tape.

Though an all-clear was announced later in the afternoon, USC police recommended students remain in the Darla Moore School of Business, a nearby campus building. Campus officials also canceled all undergraduate public health classes as well as classes at the Arnold School of Public Health for the rest of the day.

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