Last week, Wake Forest President Susan R. Wente sent a message to the campus community sharing her commitment to preventing sexual assault on campus and providing care to survivors. Since this meeting, she has met with student leaders and heard from faculty who have shared their concerns about student conduct and Title IX processes.
“I truly appreciate the students who have shared their thoughts with me and other faculty and staff members about sexual assault and student conduct practices at Wake Forest,” Wente said. “None of our students should have to endure such traumatic experiences, and I can only imagine how hard this has been for them. I am grateful for everyone’s willingness to be honest, brave and forthright about their concerns while equally as determined to seek out solutions for our campus.”
After many conversations with student organizations last week facilitated by Campus Life staff, Wente put several action steps into motion. First, a campus-wide information session will be held by the Title IX Office and the Safe Office to outline the University’s procedures and policies around Title IX. The goal is for students to understand Title IX legislation, to learn about the resources available to students on campus, and to hear more about the expectations and responsibilities of specific offices on campus should a student need that resource. The session is currently being planned, and more information will be available soon.
In addition to the current resources and efforts already underway on campus to prevent sexual assault, Wente has asked that expanded prevention strategies be explored and implemented at Wake Forest.
“In my experience, effective bystander intervention training and ongoing education opportunities for students, faculty and staff are needed to unite communities in their efforts to prevent sexual assault and misconduct,” Wente said. “I believe we can make great strides in addressing harm and violence by doubling down on better informing our campus about both the support and prevention resources that are available, as well as incorporating new and innovative prevention and education measures to help keep our campus safe. And if we all work together, I believe we can see real community progress.”
Additionally, Wente has asked Campus Life to require bystander training for any student organization planning a social event to make sure they incorporate safe party planning practices; the bystander training requirement will be implemented this fall.
Wente also announced to the Board of Trustees at a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8, that a campus climate survey focused on sexual assault will occur in the spring. The results of this survey will be used to assess students’ impressions of the campus climate and identify key areas for improvement.
“We need to understand where we are as a community so we can point our efforts and resources toward the places we can have the most impact,” Wente said. “Our desire is to provide a safe and positive campus experience where all students can learn, grow and thrive.”
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