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Over the past decade, considerable and increasing attention has been paid to the high prevalence of sexual and intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual harassment (i.e., interpersonal violence) on college and university campuses. Consequences of these victimizations are vast and long-lasting. Given the potential impact of dynamic changes in federal guidance on how to address interpersonal violence on campuses, it is even more critical for faculty from many different disciplines focused on anti-violence research and practice to be involved in efforts to intervene with and prevent such violence. In this commentary, we outline opportunities for faculty leadership in the areas of research, teaching, and service based on available research in these areas as well as our collective experiences as members of academia (e.g., students, former students, faculty) and former intimate partner violence and sexual assault service providers. Additionally, we discuss challenges that may arise for faculty (e.g., fixed-term faculty, adjunct faculty, pre-tenure assistant professors, tenured professors) taking on such leadership opportunities, such as increased workload and emotional labor, and make recommendations to help mitigate these challenges.
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Journal of Family Violence
ISSN 0885-7482
J Fam Viol
DOI 10.1007/s10896-018-9968-1
Interpersonal Violence Prevention and
Response on College and University
Campuses: Opportunities for Faculty
Laurie M.Graham, Annelise Mennicke,
Cynthia F.Rizo, Leila Wood & Cecilia
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Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response on College
and University Campuses: Opportunities for Faculty Leadership
Laurie M. Graham
&Annelise Mennicke
&Cynthia F. Rizo
&Leila Wood
&Cecilia W. Mengo
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Over the past decade, considerable and increasing attention has been paid to the high prevalence of sexual and
intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual harassment (i.e., interpersonal violence) on college and university
campuses. Consequences of these victimizations are vast and long-lasting. Given the potential impact of dynamic
changes in federal guidance on how to address interpersonal violence on campuses, it is even more critical for
faculty from many different disciplines focused on anti-violence research and practice to be involved in efforts to
intervene with and prevent such violence. In this commentary, we outline opportunities for faculty leadership in the
areas of research, teaching, and service based on available research in these areas as well as our collective expe-
riences as members of academia (e.g., students, former students, faculty) and former intimate partner violence and
sexual assault service providers. Additionally, we discuss challenges that may arise for faculty (e.g., fixed-term
faculty, adjunct faculty, pre-tenure assistant professors, tenured professors) taking on such leadership opportunities,
such as increased workload and emotional labor, and make recommendations to help mitigate these challenges.
Keywords Campus sexual assault .College .University .Sexual misconduct .Intimate partner violence .Sexual violence .
Title IX
Over the past decade, increasing attention has been paid to the
high prevalence of sexual and intimate partner violence,
stalking, and sexual harassment on college and university
campuses. Estimates of the prevalence of these forms of vio-
lence (hereafter referred to as interpersonal violence) vary
based on study designs, campus setting, violence definitions,
as well as sampling strategies employed (Fedina et al. 2018;
Wood et al. 2017). Nonetheless, consensus exists that college
and university students are at particularly high risk for
experiencing interpersonal violence (e.g., Cantor et al. 2015;
Fass et al. 2008; Knowledge Networks 2011;Sinozichand
Langton 2014). Moreover, when looking at intersections of
identity including race, non-binary gender identities, and sex-
ual minority statuses, risk of victimization rises (Coulter et al.
2017; Fedina et al. 2018;Grineretal.2017). As researchers
and teachers engaged in anti-violence work, we want to high-
light leadership opportunities for faculty, including faculty in
various roles and positions (e.g., fixed-term faculty, adjunct
*Laurie M. Graham
Annelise Mennicke
Cynthia F. Rizo
Leila Wood
Cecilia W. Mengo
School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
325 Pittsboro Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500, USA
School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Charlotte,
9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA
School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, 1925 San
Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78712, USA
College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, 1947 College Rd
N, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Journal of Family Violence
Author's personal copy
faculty, pre-tenure assistant professors, tenured professors), to
address interpersonal violence on college and university cam-
puses. We also discuss challenges related to such leadership
opportunities and recommendations for dealing with these
The Detrimental Consequences of Interpersonal
Over forty years of social science research confirms that the
consequences of interpersonal violence are vast and long-last-
ing, ultimately limiting equal access to educational advances
for college and university student survivors (Banyard et al.
2017; Jordan et al. 2014; Mengo and Black 2016).
Consequences include diminished feelings of safety
(Rosenthal et al. 2016); mental, physical, and sexual health
challenges (Amar 2006; Basile and Smith 2011; Lévesque
et al. 2016; Sabina and Straus 2008; Zinzow et al. 2011);
and feelings of institutional betrayal (Smith and Freyd
2013). These consequences, which occur regardless of socio-
cultural factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity,
gender, or sexual orientation), are also often heightened for
those from disenfranchised and marginalized groups (Bryant-
Davis et al. 2009; Edwards et al. 2015; Neville et al. 2004).
Addressing Interpersonal Violence in a Dynamic
In response to systemic factors and institutional cultures that
facilitate the epidemic of interpersonal violence (McMahon
2015), federal laws and policies have been enacted or trans-
formed to better address the needs of campuses. More specif-
ically, Title IX of the 1972 (2000) Education Amendment,
previously most notable for promoting gender equality in
sports and recreation, has gained recent attention for its pro-
visions to address gender-based violence and harassment that
interferes with learning and equal access to education. Since
2011, there has been a substantial rise in student anti-violence
activism focused on sexual harassment and assault, including
protests, education and awareness activities, and complaints
filed against colleges and universities for violence-related
Title IX violations. Relatedly, federal guidance on how to
handle interpersonal violence on campuses has significantly
shifted in the past decade, starting with the 2011 Dear
Colleague Letter (DCL; United States Department of
Education [DoED], 2011). Student activism and changing fed-
eral guidance implemented during the Obama and Biden ad-
ministration created opportunities for deeper faculty involve-
ment in campus leadership and campus community-based re-
search around interpersonal violence.
Federal oversight has increased resources, training, and
research related to intervening in and preventing interpersonal
violence on many campuses, leading to sweeping program-
matic and policy changes within these colleges and universi-
ties. However, shifting policy standards, including the
DoEDs(2017a,b) interim guidance on addressing interper-
sonal violence on campuses, has led to uncertainty among
campus administrators about how to intervene with interper-
sonal violence and continue momentum on programming ef-
forts. This interim guidance allows campuses to set their own
evidentiary standards, allows for informal case resolutions and
more appeals to case outcomes, and offers more protections
for accused students. This time of uncertainty presents a
unique opportunity for faculty, and especially faculty already
engaged in research or practice efforts to respond to and pre-
vent interpersonal violence, to advocate for permanent and
persistent campus-based policies and research that prioritize
the needs of survivors and create safe learning environments
for people of all gender identities.
Interpersonal violence is a social justice issue and should
be treated as such in academic settings. Professional staff (e.g.,
title IX coordinators, on-campus crisis advocates, staff in stu-
dent wellness and health positions) have long been integral in
implementing interpersonal violence prevention and interven-
tion strategies, but the role of faculty has been less clear.
Faculty in their roles as teachers and researchers are often
well-suited to address the complex impact of interpersonal
violence on their campuses, and therefore they are critical to
any campus response plan. In these positions, faculty build
rigorous research expertise that would be invaluable to cam-
pus anti-violence research efforts, teach the campus commu-
nity through coursework focused on understanding interper-
sonal violence, interface with student survivors who may dis-
close their experiences of violence, and mentor students inter-
ested in anti-violence work. Moreover, faculty are often man-
dated reporters of certain types of violent incidents, a role that
inextricably links them to interpersonal violence-related poli-
cies and protocols on campuses. Further, faculty can be influ-
ential in helping colleges and universities move beyond fed-
eral compliance toward implementation and enforcement of
interpersonal violence-related laws and policies (e.g., by ad-
vocating for the use of prevention and intervention approaches
that center the needs of survivors, are trauma-informed, and
are based on scientific evidence). The involvement of faculty
from different disciplines in addressing the issue of interper-
sonal violence on their campuses will provide a needed inter-
disciplinary lens to anti-violence efforts. Interdisciplinary ap-
proaches take into account multiple perspectives and ways of
knowing. Given that interpersonal violence is a multifaceted
and complex social issue, including multiple perspectives to
addressing such violence is warranted. As such, we outline
opportunities for faculty leadership in research, teaching,
and service; challenges that may arise for faculty in these
leadership roles; and recommendations for mitigating such
challenges (Table 1).
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Opportunities for Leadership
Key ways to contribute to campus interpersonal violence pre-
vention and response efforts include participation in: (a)
research on the prevalence of victimization and perpetration
of various forms of interpersonal violence, causes and conse-
quences of such violence, and effectiveness of intervention
and prevention programs; (b) teaching specialized courses
or other course content on interpersonal violence, mentoring
students interested in anti-violence research and practice, and
advising student organizations; and (c) service focused on
designing and implementing campus interpersonal violence
prevention and intervention policies and practices that align
with local, state, and federal requirements as well as best-
practices. Our recommendations for engagement in interper-
sonal violence campus leadership opportunities are reflective
of an engaged scholarship approach (Boyer 1996). Also
known as the scholarship of engagement, such an approach
calls for collaboration between academics and the community,
in this case, the campus community (e.g., administrators, staff,
students) as well as individuals outside the campus communi-
ty (e.g., policy makers, service providers), to address the issue
of interpersonal violence on college and university campuses
through democratic exchange of ideas, knowledge, resources,
and solutions. Further, engaged scholarship stresses the inte-
gration of teaching, research, and service (Barker 2004).
For decades, social workers, sociologists, psychologists,
public health researchers, criminologists, and researchers
in many other disciplines have greatly expanded the
knowledge-base on the causes and consequences of inter-
personal violence on college and university campuses, as
well as effective intervention, response, and prevention ac-
tivities (e.g., Berkel et al. 2004; Black et al. 2000;Koss
et al. 1987; Martin and Hummer 1989; Scherer et al. 2013;
Vladutiu et al. 2011). However, research opportunities re-
lated to interpersonal violence prevention and intervention
go beyond an individual faculty members personal re-
search agenda. For example, faculty can use their unique
research training to assist with the implementation of cam-
pus climate surveys as well as the development and
evaluation of interpersonal violence prevention and
intervention programs.
Table 1 Faculty leadership opportunities, related challenges, and potential solutions
Area Leadership opportunities Challenges Potential solutions
Research Participate in campus climate survey
planning and implementation
Promote ethical and effective use of
climate survey findings
Conduct campus anti-violence program
evaluations and intervention research
Ethical dilemmas related to using and sharing
research findings as well as complicated
human subject protections
Institutional Review Board approval and
navigation of this process
Researcher bias and role-conflict
Seek guidance from seasoned researchers
Consult with the IRB early and often
during the project development phase
Teaching Include interpersonal violence-related
content in course material
Insert Title IX information, an
anti-violence statement, and
anti-violence resources in syllabi
Teach courses/orientation sessions on
interpersonal violence for first-year
Connect students to roles in which they
can build skills for anti-violence work
Advise an anti-violence student
Refer student victims/survivors to re-
Navigation of student disclosures
Emotional labor
Balancing work that goes beyond the
traditional parameters of teaching (e.g.,
advising a student organization) with other
professional requirements
Ethical dilemmas
Those in supervisory roles can
acknowledge the emotional toll the
anti-violence work and supporting
survivors takes and provide support
Department/college/universities should
emphasize and provide opportunities for
self-care (e.g., lunch walking groups,
yoga, peer-support groups)
Ensure faculty receive credit, are
recognized, and/or have protected time
for providing emotional support to
survivors and advising students
Service Participate in campus, local, state, and
federal anti-violence policy work
Be a member of campus
committees/taskforces focused on
enhancing campus safety and preventing
Lobbying restrictions
Incorporating many voices in a committee/task
force process in a meaningful way
Ensuring that task force/committee
recommendations are implemented
Time constraints and balancing this work with
other professional requirements
Differential treatment of faculty based on their
rank (e.g., pre-tenure assistant, associate, full
professor, adjunct, fixed-term) in their
participation on committees/task forces
Ensure faculty receive credit, are
recognized, and/or have protected time
to participate in anti-violence policy
work and related committees or task
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Campus Climate Surveys Campus climate surveys have
existed for several decades and have many different
purposes. In 2014, the White House Task Force to Protect
Students from Sexual Assault (2014) recommended the use
of climate surveys, which typically assess prevalence of inter-
personal violence victimization and perpetration as well as
studentsperceptions of institutional response, campus re-
sources, and feelings about campus safety (Wood et al.
2017). Many campuses currently implement some form of a
climate survey, and others aspire to learn more about their
campus culture related to interpersonal violence. Faculty have
the opportunity to provide guidance and leadership alongside
campus administration to make survey decisions that impact
the quality of design and implementation of such surveys.
Faculty researchers often have the training to provide spe-
cialized input about rigorous survey content as well as related
measurement issues, target populations, and sampling and re-
cruitment strategies. Common components of a climate sur-
vey include demographics, academic and social life, campus
climate attitudes and perceptions, bystander and peer attitudes
and perceptions, victimization and assault characteristics, per-
petration, reporting information, and consequences of victim-
ization (see Wood et al. 2017 for a thorough review). Many of
these constructs can be measured with existing reliable, vali-
dated instruments, and faculty researchers can help adminis-
trators select which instruments or available toolkits are most
appropriate for the campus given their aims and unique stu-
dent population. Faculty researchers can also help campuses
weigh the pros and cons of various data collection schedules.
For instance, teams implementing climate surveys should con-
sider whether all of the desired constructs need to be asked on
an annual basis, or if the survey could be segmented to ask
about different constructs in alternating years or survey path-
ways (see Busch-Armendariz et al. 2017 for an example).
Faculty researchers can also be instrumental in helping ad-
ministrators decide on the surveys target population as well as
the most appropriate methods for sampling, recruitment, and
incentives that will yield high response rates and enhance con-
fidence in the validity of the results (see a discussion of these
issues by Krebs et al. 2016). Typically, campus climate surveys
are limited to traditionally-aged undergraduate students (Voth
Schrag 2017). Although undergraduate students make up the
majority of a campus for many institutions, sampling only this
group leaves major gaps in understanding the overall climate of
a campus. Faculty can help administrators determine the target
sample for the survey based on the determined survey purpose,
which may include a variety of different groups often not in-
cluded in climate surveys (e.g., students enrolled in online-on-
ly/distance education programs, graduate students, faculty, and
staff). Furthermore, knowing the available campus resources,
researchers can then help administrators develop an appropriate
recruitment plan and incentive structure to capture target par-
ticipants that are also in line with scientific best practices.
Collaborative Program Evaluations and Intervention Research
In addition to campus climate surveys, campuses are
implementing various interpersonal violence intervention
and (often Bhomegrown^) prevention programs, many of
which have not been evaluated. Advocacy, crisis services,
counseling, and education are among the services universities
have been guided to offer (White House Task Force to Protect
Students from Sexual Assault 2014). Furthermore, survivors
express desire to have services on campuses, yet many are
underutilized after victimization (Sabina and Ho 2014).
It is critical that both prevention and response programs be
evaluated to avoid the continued proliferation of untested in-
terventions which may or may not be beneficial to campus
communities. In addition to generally participating in inter-
vention research and program evaluation efforts, faculty can
specifically help evaluate a campuss fidelity to established
prevention and response programs and test program adapta-
tions for diverse student groups. Additionally, building knowl-
edge about prevention and intervention program effectiveness
will help campuses determine how to most efficiently and
effectively address interpersonal violence and support survi-
vors. Importantly, these evaluation projects can be incorporat-
ed into faculty research agendas while meaningfully contrib-
uting to gaps in knowledge (McMahon et al. 2018). Reflective
of engaged scholarship, these partnerships are (and should be)
mutually beneficial, as the evaluation findings can be used to
improve programs, publish findings, help train new re-
searchers (e.g., student practicums), and lead to larger-scale
projects and related funding procurement.
Potential Challenges and Recommended Solutions In the
midst of a myriad of competing demands surrounding anti-
violence work on college and university campuses (e.g., laws
and policies, communication and reputation concerns), many
campuses find themselves acting, or reacting, to avoid sanc-
tions, or deter bad press. Unfortunately, compliance and fear-
driven action can lead to campus climate surveys being
viewed by some as the end goal instead of a starting point to
guide prevention and intervention efforts. Faculty can help
reinforce the notion that collecting campus climate data is a
means to an end but not the end itself. Universities may also
struggle with determining whether to make reports publicly
available (e.g., McMahon et al. 2015)and accessible to stu-
dents, and whether they have an obligation to do so. Faculty
can be instrumental in stressing the ethical obligation to do
something meaningful with sensitive campus climate data giv-
en potential risks associated with participation, such as poten-
tial emotional distress experienced by survivor respondents.
Additionally, researchers conducting campus research, es-
pecially on interventions in which they have scholarly or ser-
vice investment, need to design evaluation approaches that
minimize potential researcher bias. Interdisciplinary research
teams can help minimize bias and increase quality of
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evaluation. Further, faculty involvement in campus-based re-
search can be challenging due to competing demands and
potential role conflict. Universities often want to portray the
campus in the best light possible, while faculty have respon-
sibilities to their profession to disseminate findings fully and
accurately. Moreover, issues may arise regarding who owns
collected data (e.g., the university or the research team) and
how the data can be used. Such issues may be especially
complex for faculty without job security (e.g., adjunct faculty,
pre-tenure assistant professors, fixed-term faculty).
Other potential challenges to faculty involvement in
campus-based interpersonal violence research includes
obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for data
collection. IRBs may consider campus climate surveys and
program evaluations to be Bnot human subject research^upon
review of an IRB application, especially if the researchers do
not intend to disseminate the findings. However, in other sit-
uations, IRBs may require additional layers of protection for
research participants or disallow all or part of the research
activities proposed. For example, IRBs may perceive the types
of questions asked in a climate survey to be harm-inducing for
respondents and disallow researchers from asking them.
Additionally, if questions about perpetration are asked, data
could potentially be identifiable, which could create tensions
between facultys ethical obligations, human subject protec-
tions, and administratorsdesires to rid campus of predators.
In these situations, faculty researchers should ensure adher-
ence to ethical research guidelines, including those related to
appropriate ways to frame research questions related to perpe-
tration of interpersonal violence (see Jewkes et al. 2012 for a
thorough review on such guidelines).
To mitigate these challenges, faculty should seek guidance
from seasoned researchers (both within and outside of the
institution) to identify strategies for dealing with competing
agendas (e.g., of the university versus the researcher), the
potential for role conflict, and working with the IRB.
Additionally, faculty should engage in conversations with
IRB personnel early and often regarding the proposed anti-
violence research activities to prevent potential problems that
may arise upon application review. Potential topics for these
conversations include whether the project is considered hu-
man subject research, potential concerns the IRB might have
about the research activities, and strategies for addressing any
potential concerns. This guidance is especially critical for de-
veloping the study design and participant protection plans.
In their roles as teachers, faculty have many opportunities to
provide leadership around ending campus-based interpersonal
violence. Teaching about interpersonal violence is critical given
that many students might not have received information about
what constitutes interpersonal violence before starting college
and interpersonal violence is an issue with which students
across many disciplines (e.g., nursing, public health, social
work, womens studies, history, psychology, anthropology)
are likely to interface professionally (not to mention personal-
ly). Therefore, it is not surprising that across many disciplines,
faculty develop and teach interpersonal violence-specific
courses and certifications (see an example from the Rutgers
School of Social Work 2018). Others integrate content on in-
terpersonal violence into generalized courses to heighten
awareness of the issue. This practice is particularly common
among helping professions, in which general practitioners are
taught the basics, dynamics, and intervention techniques for
interpersonal violence, which intersects all help-seeking do-
mains (e.g., mental health, substance use, family counseling,
criminal justice, and more). Minimally, teaching faculty in any
discipline can also demonstrate commitment to promoting safe-
ty on campus, such as by including Title IX information and/or
an optional statement of intolerance to interpersonal violence in
course syllabi and by discussing confidential and private
reporting resources on campus. The syllabi can also include
links to university and community resources. Such information
can increase awareness of interpersonal violence, alert potential
perpetrators of where the institution stands on this issue, and
provide resources for survivors of violence.
Faculty should consider developing and teaching under-
graduate first-year seminars or first-year orientation courses
focused on interpersonal violence. Such seminars are typically
designed to introduce incoming first-year undergraduate stu-
dents to college-level coursework, whereas first-year orienta-
tion courses are designed to enhance college success by equip-
ping students with the necessary tools to navigate both the
academic and personal realms of college life. These seminars
and courses represent a unique opportunity to introduce in-
coming students to the topic of interpersonal violence and
incorporate prevention messaging. For example, one of the
co-authors of this paper developed a first-year seminar fo-
cused on interpersonal violence across the lifespan and includ-
ed readings and assignments focused on dating and sexual
violence among college students.
As mentors and advisors, faculty contribute to students
development on interpersonal violence issues in various ways.
For example, faculty members connect students with intern-
ships in campus and community agencies, so students may
acquire skills related to ending violence or providing support
to survivors. Often faculty also act as program advisors, in
which role they are likely to work with individuals who may
be personally affected by interpersonal violence. As an advi-
sor, faculty might find themselves in a position to advocate on
a survivors behalf if they incur health or academic conse-
quences or connect survivors to support resources on or off
campus. Many faculty members also serve as advisors for
student organizations, in which role they can support students
who are advocating to end violence on campus. Faculty might
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also serve as research advisors for students completing re-
search practicums, honors projects, theses, and dissertations
on interpersonal violence.
Potential Challenges and Recommended Solutions Under
Title IX guidance, colleges and universities must establish
who on the campus is a Bresponsible employee,^that is, the
faculty and staff who are required to report a disclosure of
sexual misconduct to the Title IX office. Many universities
classify at least some if not most faculty as responsible em-
ployees. Women faculty and staff generally experience more
disclosures, which is likely, at least in part, related to the real
or perceived care-taking roles they play on campus (Branch
et al. 2011). Students also often turn to faculty they trust for
guidance after a traumatic event occurs. The prevalence of
disclosure is particularly high among faculty who teach
courses that cover violence-related topics either because they
are perceived as knowledgeable resources or because the class
content or assignments may be distressing to students who
have experienced violent victimization themselves (Branch
et al. 2011; Durfree and Rosenberg 2009). In addition, higher
rates of disclosure are found among faculty who are affiliated
with helping professions (e.g., counseling psychology, social
work) and have the clinical training and skills to respond to
disclosures in a supportive, affirming manner (Hayes-Smith
et al. 2010). These faculty are often perceived to be people to
whom incidents of victimization can be safely disclosed.
With responsible employee obligations, faculty have to nav-
igate the complexities of preemptively telling a student that
they would be obligated to report to Title IX if the conversa-
tional content appears to be leading toward a disclosure.
Alternatively, some faculty may find themselves needing to tell
a student after a disclosure is made that regardless of the stu-
dents desires, the faculty member is obligated to report the
incident to the Title IX Office. Finding out about the obligation
to report in this manner is often disempowering to the student
because it takes away the students control over decisions about
how to proceed after a violent experience. Some faculty mem-
bers, especially those who are in fields that are governed by
ethical codes that support autonomy and self-determination,
often find themselves in a complicated ethical quandary be-
tween their obligations to the profession and their obligations
to the university. This dilemma is further complicated by unin-
tentional disclosures that happen when students divulge per-
sonal experiences of interpersonal violence in class or in a
written assignment because it pertains to the course content.
For example, if a student discloses as part of a self-reflection
paper, is there an obligation to report to the Title IX Office?
To address some of these potential challenges, we recom-
mend several potential solutions. First, those in supervisory
roles can acknowledge the emotional toll that anti-violence
work and supporting survivors requires and provide support
to faculty by recognizing the importance of this work.
Relatedly, departments or whole institutions should empha-
size and provide opportunities for self-care (e.g., lunch walk-
ing groups, yoga, peer-support groups) for faculty. Moreover,
institutions should ensure faculty receive credit, are recog-
nized, and/or have protected time for providing emotional
support to survivors and advising students (an issue we elab-
orate on later in our discussion of service opportunities).
In addition to contributing to interpersonal violence preven-
tion and response through anti-violence research and teaching,
opportunities exist for faculty to lead campus anti-violence
efforts via service. For example, faculty may become involved
in service-related efforts to influence campus, local, state, and
federal policies. One such strategy could include taking part in
campus-wide anti-violence task forces and committees.
Policy Efforts At the campus level, colleges and universities are
grappling with how to craft or revise anti-violence policies and
protocols. The voices of faculty with anti-violence knowledge
are critical in such conversations. For example, two key policy-
related issues at present include how to define faculty, staff, and
studentsresponsibilities around mandated reporting of violent
incidents (Weiss and Lasky 2017) and how to define sexual
consent in campus policies (Graham et al. 2017). However,
policy work also extends beyond the campus environment, as
multiple states have recently begun implementing state-based
legislation that impacts institutions of higher education across a
single state. For example, California passed legislation requir-
ing institutions to adopt a particular affirmative consent defini-
tion among other requirements (Leon and Jackson 2015;
Student Safety: Sexual Assault Act 2014). Furthermore, federal
guidance around the interpretation of Title IX is shifting under
the new federal administration, and campuses are trying to
determine how to ensure their compliance with federal legisla-
tion, such as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security
Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act; 1990)and
Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (Campus SaVE) Act
(2011). From campus-specific anti-violence policies and survi-
vor support protocols to federal legislation, the present moment
is a time of rapid change. Faculty should seek opportunities to
be at the table through their involvement in campus task forces,
committees, and change processes as they bring a specific set of
expertise and represent different parts of a campus community.
Committees and Task Forces Campuses often have opportuni-
ties for faculty to be involved in committees and task forces
related to interpersonal violence. The authors of this paper have
been involved in multiple such work groups at various institu-
tions, including the following committees and task forces:
Violence Prevention Task Force, Interpersonal Violence
Prevention Committee, Title IX Committee, Campus
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Coordinated Response Team, Campus Safety and Security
Committee, and Bystander Intervention Development
In particular, many campuses have established violence
prevention and intervention task forces to better understand
and address interpersonal violence on their campuses.
These task forces represent a unique opportunity for faculty
involvement and leadership. Although such task forces
share a common goal of enhancing campus safety and
preventing violence, the exact charge might vary across
universities and colleges. For example, a task force might
be established to: (a) develop a strategic plan for reducing
various forms of interpersonal violence; (b) review and
revise current policies and practices for responding to vio-
lence and help establish new ones; (c) explore best prac-
tices in anti-violence support and prevention; and/or (d)
identify gaps in current prevention and response efforts
and recommend initiatives for addressing identified gaps.
As part of their charge, violence prevention task forces
are often asked to determine key recommendations for en-
hancing policies, prevention, and response.
Typically, key administrative and student stakeholders
from across the campus and community are invited to partic-
ipate in violence prevention task forces. Members of these
groups might include student leaders and members of stu-
dent-run, anti-violence groups; the coordinator for violence
prevention programming; representatives from Student
Affairs, Greek Life, Athletics, Advising, Housing and
Residential Life, Graduate School, Diversity and
Multicultural Affairs, Womens Center, LGBTQ Center, and
Clery Compliance; faculty from various schools and depart-
ments across the campus (e.g., social work, public health,
psychology, psychiatry, medicine, womens studies); and rep-
resentatives from community agencies (e.g., local domestic
violence and sexual assault agencies). Although individuals
are often appointed to serve on the task force, many times
there are opportunities for additional stakeholders to volunteer
and contribute to the work of the task force or a committee. A
task forces charge, composition, and meeting minutes or sum-
maries are often available on an institutions webpage.
Interested faculty members should reach out to the task force
chair to learn about opportunities for involvement.
Potential Challenges and Recommended Solutions Faculty
are often involved in policy design and implementation.
However, faculty at public institutions may encounter chal-
lenges as they advocate for policies on campuses that could
be construed as engaging in political activities on behalf of the
university. Faculty should consult with campus legal entities
to ensure their activities are not considered lobbying and must
take care to indicate their efforts reflect their personal or pro-
fessional opinionnot the official perspective of the
Although becoming involved in a campus violence preven-
tion task force is an excellent opportunity, especially for those
who work in the area of violence prevention, there are potential
challenges to consider. In a large task force, it can be difficult to
incorporate everyones skills, expertise, and recommendations
in a meaningful way. Even when it is accomplished, it can be
challenging to distill the groups recommendations into imme-
diate, high-impact, and actionable steps. One way to address
these challenges is to form subcommittees within a larger task
force based on task force membersexpertise to allow for ev-
eryone to contribute to the overall work of the group.
Further, after the work of the task force is complete and
recommendations are made to the administration, it is impor-
tant to consider next steps, including how best to ensure that
recommendations are implemented. Some universities and
colleges have attempted to address this potential challenge
by charging the task force to also develop an implementation
plan, appointing an oversight committee or board to monitor
progress on approved recommendations, and providing
funding for the implementation of recommendations.
There are also practical and logistical challenges to partic-
ipating in a campus violence prevention task force. While
many faculty have interest in university-level service related
to campus-based violence, there is still a need for service at the
unit and/or department/college level. Frequently, faculty serve
on university-level committees in addition to their expected
service requirements, and because of their leadership and ex-
pertise on these topics, they are often relied on heavily to
implement the committees action steps. Therefore, these fac-
ulty may spend a disproportionate amount of time on service,
encroaching on the time they can commit to teaching and
research or disrupting their work/life balance. This overload
can lead to lower research productivity, or teaching evalua-
tions that suffer, which could have consequences for
promotion/tenure and merit-based raises. Personally, this pat-
tern could lead to burnout. Time constrains might limit a fac-
ulty members ability to participate in such a group in addition
to other work-related responsibilities (e.g., teaching, research,
other service obligations). Further, despite interest in partici-
pating in such a group, one might not exist on every campus.
In this case, there may be other opportunities for violence
prevention leadership through other service and committee
work even at the departmental level. Practically, task forces
and committees might address some time constraints by
allowing faculty to volunteer their time as they are able (rather
than with a set, required schedule) and structure meetings in
such a way that individual members may participate remotely.
Importantly, women faculty perform more service than
their male counterparts (Guarino and Borden 2017). This dis-
parity may widen as female faculty hear more disclosures
from student and faculty survivors and their peer supporters,
are asked to serve on more violence-related committees be-
cause of their overrepresentation in this field, or volunteer to
Author's personal copy
do such. Senior-level faculty and administrators should iden-
tify strategies to ensure faculty are receiving credit for the vital
service they are performing for vulnerable students by
responding to disclosures and participating in anti-violence
efforts broadly speaking, especially considering the value of
these activities to the broader university community. Beyond
the importance of ensuring these faculty members are recog-
nized and receiving credit for their support of students and
other campus-based anti-violence work, supervisors and ad-
ministrators should also take care to acknowledge, process,
and provide support to prevent burnout from the extreme emo-
tional toll that is often caused by fielding disclosures and
participating in work that involves discussing these difficult
issues frequently. If the university system is unable or unwill-
ing to formally acknowledge fielding disclosures and/or par-
ticipating in other campus-based anti-violence efforts that go
beyond traditional conceptualizations of how faculty mem-
berstime is spent as forms of service, direct supervisors,
directors, deans, and chairs could consider finding ways to
otherwise protect time for faculty doing this critical work.
Interpersonal violence should not be tolerated on college and
university campuses. Moreover, these institutions should ac-
tively seek to support survivors, prevent such violence, and
provide spaces where students are empowered to reach their
full potential through education and other activities. However,
interpersonal violence continues to have significant negative
impacts on studentsacademic performance and overall
wellbeing. Faculty are in a unique position to prevent and
respond to interpersonal violence through research, teaching,
and service. However, assuming campus leadership opportu-
nities related to addressing interpersonal violence may be as-
sociated with potential challenges, such as time constraints,
ethical dilemmas, and emotional labor. Efforts to mitigate
these challenges by administrators at the university and de-
partmental levels is crucial given the importance of faculty
memberssignificant potential contributions to anti-violence
efforts on college and university campuses. We call for addi-
tional conversation concerning ways faculty can be meaning-
fully involved in campus-based anti-violence efforts as well as
ideas for addressing challenges to facultysfullparticipationin
these efforts. We recognize that not all faculty are experts in
interpersonal violence. However, it is crucial for faculty who
have expertise in this area to contribute to and take a leader-
ship role in campus anti-violence efforts.
Acknowledgements We would like to thank the Caroline H. and Thomas
S. Royster Fellowship awarded by the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill which supported, in part, Laurie Grahams time and effort for
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... The role of teachers, or faculty, has received only limited attention in the arena of campus sexual violence, despite calls for greater involvement of faculty from federal entities (e.g., Office on Violence Against Women, Department of Justice, 2017) and scholars, who have noted that faculty and staff have an important role to play by modeling behavior, reinforcing messaging, and including information about sexual violence within the curriculum (Banyard, 2015;Graham, Mennicke, Rizo, Wood, & Mengo, 2018;Hurtado, 2018;Sisneros & Rivera, 2018). ...
... Such programs also have the benefit of desiloing the academic and student affairs sides of the academy. In their commentary, Graham, Mennicke, Rizo, Wood, and Mengo (2018) outline opportunities to engage faculty and staff in this work through research (e.g., participating in campus climate survey administration), teaching (e.g., including content on sexual and dating violence in the curricula), and service (e.g., participating on campus committees or engaging in policy work). At the University of Colorado, faculty members are provided with a pencil pouch at the beginning of the year that includes tips for how they can be involved in addressing sexual violence, including suggested language for their syllabi on their role as mandated reporters, information about the impact of sexual violence on academic outcomes, and resource and referral information (Sisneros & Rivera, 2018). ...
... In order to increase faculty and staff engagement, specific trauma-informed sexual violence training may be required as well as guidance about self-care (Finley & Levenson, 2018). In addition, various types of support may be needed to encourage their involvement, such as providing protected time as well as credit or recognition for this type of work (Graham et al., 2018). ...
There are calls for sexual violence prevention to be more comprehensive and align with a socio-ecological approach. However, there is lack of models with specificity on how to engage additional stakeholders. Whole School Approach (WSA) frameworks have been used to address health promotion and bullying prevention and can be a useful model for guiding campus sexual violence prevention work. WSA models situate violence as a community issue and one where all community members have a role to play in prevention. Rather than focusing on addressing individual behavior, WSA frameworks address the role of the larger school environment in serving as a protective factor against violence, abuse, and harassment. A review of the literature on WSA frameworks in other disciplines reveals a number of potential ways to translate key elements of WSA models to the field of campus sexual violence prevention. In particular, mechanisms can be applied to expand the role of students, faculty, staff, parents/significant adults, institutional leadership, and the larger community.
... Research also notes a growing awareness of the potential benefit that having faculty engage in sexual violence prevention can bring to students and their university communities (Graham et al., 2019;McMahon, 2015;Robinson et al., 2020). Since faculty serve in multiple roles as teachers, committee members, and student advisors, their influence on policies, decisions, and attitudes can be extensive and effective. ...
... Since faculty serve in multiple roles as teachers, committee members, and student advisors, their influence on policies, decisions, and attitudes can be extensive and effective. Although research on bystander education with faculty may be minimal, scholars point to the potential research, funding, and leadership opportunities that can emerge if faculty are engaged in this work (Graham et al., 2019;McMahon, 2015;Robinson et al., 2020). ...
Full-text available
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... Over the past decade, increasing attention has been paid to interpersonal violence on college and university campuses in the United States given data indicating that students are at particularly high risk for experiencing interpersonal violence (Graham et al., 2019). While immediate effects of violence are experienced by the individuals involved, student victimization in a college context can also undermine the goals of higher education, impede student learning and development, and diminish positive feelings about the campus climate. ...
... A 2014 report from the U.S. Senate found that many colleges and universities are lacking best practices, finding more than 40% of schools have not conducted a single investigation of sexual violence in the past five years and more than 20% of campuses do not provide reporter training for faculty and staff (U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight -Majority Staff, 2014). In response to such shortcomings, federal laws and policies have been enacted or transformed to better address the needs of campuses, such as Title IX of 1972 Education Amendment and the Clery Act, resulting in more resources, training, and research related to the prevention of interpersonal violence on colleges and universities (Graham et al., 2019). ...
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... students are at an increased risk of experiencing interpersonal violence in Malaysia and globally (Graham et al., 2019). For example, a Spanish study reported more than one-fifth of university students experienced interpersonal violence (Martín-Baena et al., 2016). ...
... In the higher education context, the term faculty leadership is usually discussed instead of TL (e.g., Graham et al., 2018). Some studies concern faculty leadership, which is included as an element in studies on faculty development. ...
Full-text available
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... Assessing the campus climate routinely is necessary as perceptions and attitudes toward sexual and gender minorities are essential to assist students affected by interpersonal violence (Coulter & Rankin, 2017;Follingstad, & Busch-Armendariz, 2017;Wood et al., 2017). Effectively addressing sexual misconduct requires cross-campus collaboration, faculty, as well as administration, involvement, and the integration of student opinions and voices (Graham et al., 2018). Researchers who have led projects to review campus climate surveys emphasized a need to clearly define sexual assault by engaging a representative sample of students who completed surveys and oversampling vulnerable, as well as marginalized, populations (Beaver, 2017;Heer & Jones, 2017). ...
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... In the higher education context, the term faculty leadership is usually discussed instead of TL (e.g., Graham et al., 2018). Some studies concern faculty leadership, which is included as an element in studies on faculty development. ...
Full-text available
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... Several commentaries have pointed toward the need for faculty involvement in US campus gender-based violence (GBV) efforts (Finley & Levenson, 2018;Graham, Mennicke, Rizo, Wood, & Mengo, 2019;Klein et al., 2018;Sales & Krause, 2017). There has also been an increase in staff tasked with survivor support and GBV prevention efforts (Klein, Rizzo, & Dunlap, 2016). ...
Ending gender-based violence (GBV) on campus requires sustained efforts to transform the rape culture that is embedded in college and university systems. While partnership with student activists is crucial, structural change necessitates partnerships among college and university employees, particularly between staff who direct campus survivor advocacy and GBV prevention programs and their faculty allies. This chapter draws on accounts of members of the Campus Advocacy and Prevention Professionals Association across the United States and Canada about their partnerships with faculty. Key themes emerged: navigating bureaucracy, negotiating roles and responsibilities, destabilizing power and privilege dynamics, confronting institutionalized oppressions, and going beyond programming to catalyze systems change through meaningful (and often uncomfortable) partnership and dialogue. Recommendations to transform rape culture through new and existing partnerships on program evaluation, curriculum infusion, survivor support, and campus-wide task forces are discussed.
College students can use bystander intervention tactics to prevent sexual assault within their communities. One's group memberships and group identification—conceptualized within social identity theory—could influence attitudes and behaviors related to bystander intervention. College students ( n = 1,170) participated in an online survey measuring group membership with student subgroups, identification, and bystander intervention perceptions. Subgroups in this study included fraternities/sororities, student organizations, National Collegiate Athletic Association athletes, club/intramural sports, and spiritual/faith-based organizations. For various student subgroups, group identification was significantly correlated with individuals’ perceived willingness and likelihood to engage in bystander intervention and their perceptions about the helpfulness of bystander intervention tactics.
The current study surveyed 530 college students to investigate perceptions of victim responsibility or blame in heterosexual stalking situations using a vignette design. The vignettes manipulated the gender of the victim and offender, as well as the prior relationship between the victim and offender. Regression results revealed that while perceived victim blame was low overall among the sample, victims of known offenders received the most blame, especially if they engaged in casual sex practices. Gender of the victim and offender in the vignette did not significantly affect the perceptions of victim blame. Contrary to previous literature, male respondents were significantly less likely than female respondents to assign blame to the victim, particularly when the victim was a male being pursued by a female stalker. Also, white respondents were significantly less likely than nonwhite respondents to attribute blame to the victim. Implications for educational programs or other campus initiatives to address victim-blaming attitudes and stalking are discussed.
Full-text available
Sexual assault, partner abuse, and stalking are major problems on college campuses. Past research has demonstrated a host of physiological and psychological outcomes associated with victimization; however, there has been little research conducted on the potential academic outcomes associated with victimization. The purpose of this study was to measure the relation between academic outcomes and experiences of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking victimization among college students. A sample of 6,482 undergraduate students currently enrolled at one of eight universities in New England were surveyed using items from the subscales of the College Persistence Questionnaire (Academic Efficacy, Collegiate Stress, Institutional Commitment, and Scholastic Conscientiousness; Davidson, Beck, & Milligan, 2009). All four types of victimization were associated with significant differences on academic outcomes after controlling for sex and year in school, with victimized students reporting lower academic efficacy, higher college-related stress, lower institutional commitment and lower scholastic conscientiousness. Polyvictimization was also significantly correlated with outcomes, with the greater number of types of victimization experienced by students being associated with more negative academic outcomes. Implications for future research and campus response were discussed.
Full-text available
This paper investigates the amount of academic service performed by female versus male faculty. We use 2014 data from a large national survey of faculty at more than 140 institutions as well as 2012 data from an online annual performance reporting system for tenured and tenure–track faculty at two campuses of a large public, Midwestern University. We find evidence in both data sources that, on average, women faculty perform significantly more service than men, controlling for rank, race/ethnicity, and field or department. Our analyses suggest that the male–female differential is driven more by internal service—i.e., service to the university, campus, or department—than external service—i.e., service to the local, national, and international communities—although significant heterogeneity exists across field and discipline in the way gender differentials play out.
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Sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, sexual harassment, and stalking are complex crimes and have been a major focus of national attention at institutions of higher education (IHEs). To grasp the extent and nature of these crimes on campuses, institutionally specific climate surveys are being developed and endorsed by the federal government and conducted at IHEs. These climate surveys differ in content and length. This article describes 10 different climate surveys and outlines the variables measured in each tool. Next steps for assessing climate surveys are discussed.
Campus sexual assault (CSA) has received unprecedented attention over recent years, resulting in an abundance of federal guidance and mandates. In response, efforts to address and prevent CSA at Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) across the country have grown quickly, including the development and implementation of programs and policies. Because the changes on campuses have occurred at such a rapid pace, a number of gaps exist within the field of CSA research. To ensure that changes on IHE are evidence-based, there is a need to review the existing research available and the inquiry still needed, based on key areas outlined in federal guidance, the expressed needs of campus community members, survivors, and students who commit sexual offenses on college campuses. The purpose of this review is to summarize the empirical research related to CSA gained from the past two decades and identify areas in which further work is needed, specifically related to key areas identified in recent guidance provided to IHE. This article concludes with guidance for research moving forward to help strengthen response and prevention efforts.
College students disproportionately experience victimization, stalking, and relationship violence when compared with other groups. Few studies explore victimization by the gender identity of college students, including those who identify as transgender. The purpose of this study is to explore the rates of violence experienced by transgender students compared with male and female college students. This study utilized the National College Health Assessment–II (NCHA-II) and included data from students (n = 82,538) across fall 2011, 2012, and 2013. Bivariate statistics and binary logistic regression were conducted to test the relationships between gender identity and victimization. Transgender students (n = 204) were compared with male (n = 27,322) and female (n = 55,012) students. After adjusting for individual factors, transgender students had higher odds of experiencing all nine types of violence when compared with males and higher odds of experiencing eight types of violence than females. Transgender students experienced the highest odds in crimes involving sexual victimization, including attempted sexual penetration (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 9.49, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [6.17, 14.59], d = 1.00), sexual penetration without consent (aOR: 9.06, 95% CI = [5.64, 14.53], d = 0.94), and being in a sexually abusive relationship (aOR: 6.48, 95% CI = [4.01, 10.49], d = 0.48), than did male students. Findings reveal increased odds of victimization among transgender students when compared with male and female students. Results demonstrate the need for more comprehensive violence prevention efforts in college settings.
Many universities and colleges now require all “responsible employees,” including faculty, to report known or suspected sexual misconduct to designated Title IX administrators. The intention of these mandatory reporting policies is to ensure institutional accountability and compliance with Title IX’s prohibition against sexual and gender-based discrimination. Yet, critics argue that such policies are overreaching, paternalistic and, ironically, discriminatory. Drawing from prior research on sexual victimization and original exploratory data on gender-based college harassment, this article provides a critical perspective that delineates both the intended goals and unintended consequences of Title IX’s mandatory reporting policies, specifically focusing on three overlapping issues: ambiguous definitions, reporting risks, and faculty’s role in disclosure. We conclude by proposing alternative strategies for achieving Title IX’s objectives.
Campus sexual assault (SA) policies and sexual consent definitions have not been widely studied. The study team conducted a nationally representative review of college and university websites (n = 995), assessing the prevalence of publicly-accessible online policies and definitions and examining associations with school characteristics. A content analysis was performed on a subsample (n = 100) of consent definitions. Most schools (93.0%) had an SA policy and consent definition (87.6%) available online. Schools were more likely to have a policy or consent definition if they were large (≥ 5,000 students), public, or had a female enrollment of ≥ 33%. Detail and comprehensiveness of definitions varied. Findings highlight opportunities for schools—especially small schools, private schools, and those with more male students—to increase access to SA policies and consent definitions.
A critical step in developing sexual assault prevention and treatment is identifying groups at high risk for sexual assault. We explored the independent and interaction effects of sexual identity, gender identity, and race/ethnicity on past-year sexual assault among college students. From 2011 to 2013, 71,421 undergraduate students from 120 US post-secondary education institutions completed cross-sectional surveys. We fit multilevel logistic regression models to examine differences in past-year sexual assault. Compared to cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) men, cisgender women (adjusted odds ratios [AOR] = 2.47; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.29, 2.68) and transgender people (AOR = 3.93; 95% CI 2.68, 5.76) had higher odds of sexual assault. Among cisgender people, gays/lesbians had higher odds of sexual assault than heterosexuals for men (AOR = 3.50; 95% CI 2.81, 4.35) but not for women (AOR = 1.13; 95% CI 0.87, 1.46). People unsure of their sexual identity had higher odds of sexual assault than heterosexuals, but effects were larger among cisgender men (AOR = 2.92; 95% CI 2.10, 4.08) than cisgender women (AOR = 1.68; 95% CI 1.40, 2.02). Bisexuals had higher odds of sexual assault than heterosexuals with similar magnitude among cisgender men (AOR = 3.19; 95% CI 2.37, 4.27) and women (AOR = 2.31; 95% CI 2.05, 2.60). Among transgender people, Blacks had higher odds of sexual assault than Whites (AOR = 8.26; 95% CI 1.09, 62.82). Predicted probabilities of sexual assault ranged from 2.6 (API cisgender men) to 57.7% (Black transgender people). Epidemiologic research and interventions should consider intersections of gender identity, sexual identity, and race/ethnicity to better tailor sexual assault prevention and treatment for college students.
We surveyed 525 graduate students (61.7% females and 38.3% males) regarding their exposure to sexual and gender-based harassing events. Thirty-eight percent of female and 23.4% of male participants self-reported that they had experienced sexual harassment from faculty or staff; 57.7% of female and 38.8% of male participants reported they had experienced sexual harassment from other students. We explored the relation between sexual harassment and negative outcomes (trauma symptoms, campus safety, and institutional betrayal) while also considering associations with other types of victimization (sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence) during graduate school. Our results update and extend prior research on sexual harassment of graduate students; graduate-level female students continue to experience significantly more sexual harassment from faculty, staff, and students than their male counterparts, and sexual harassment is significantly associated with negative outcomes after considering other forms of victimization. Leaders in the academic community and therapists can apply these findings in their work with sexually harassed students to destigmatize the experience, validate the harm, and work toward preventing future incidents.