Date: April 26, 2017
To: Members of the MICA Community
From: Estevanny Turns
Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator
[TITLE IX] CLIMATE SURVEY UPDATE
Dear Campus Community,
During the spring 2016 semester, MICA conducted its first comprehensive survey of student perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes related to gender based harassment and violence. Commonly referred to as a "climate survey," this instrument sought to obtain a more accurate representation of the rates of gender based harassment and violence at MICA and assess what our student community believes, thinks, and talks about relative to these issues.
As we have said before but feel it bears repeating, student sexual assault is a serious national problem affecting campuses around the country. Our campus is no exception-we acknowledge that gender based assault and harassment has and does occur here at MICA and it is not acceptable. We remain committed to making the changes necessary to provide a safe and supportive campus where all members of our community-students, faculty and staff-will flourish.
A brief summary of the initial findings was sent to the campus community in April 2016. Since then MICA's Title IX team, along with the Title IX Advisory Committee and other key leaders, has been looking in depth at the results of this complex and extensive instrument. Assessing the most critical lessons from the over 400 voices that completed some or all of this survey has been no easy task, and MICA appreciates those who have helped with this effort. I am pleased to share this more detailed information with you now, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, in an effort to deepen our internal dialogue.
This letter is a summary of some of the results that will be useful for our continuing campus dialogue and work as we continue to improve our campus climate. In addition, a series of data visualizations are being developed to provide a deeper dive into the data and we anticipate that they will be available throughout summer 2017. These visualizations will be available to the community at mica.edu/titleix. PLEASE NOTE: These visualizations are linked on this webpage at the top left corner.
RATES OF GENDER BASED HARASSMENT OR VIOLENCE AT MICA
Sexual Harassment, broadly, is the most common form of gender-based discrimination at MICA and across the country. Through the climate survey, respondents shared if they had experienced harassment from peers and/or MICA employees (faculty and staff). One of the visualizations referenced above will provide detailed information across a range of harassment related behaviors. It is worth noting that 8% of respondents felt they had "often" or "many times" been treated differently because of their gender or perceived gender by MICA employees, and 12% of respondents felt similarly regarding their treatment by other MICA students.
Gender-based discrimination also takes the form of stalking, dating/domestic violence, and sexual violence. Responses to the survey indicated the following:
Thirteen percent reported having been watched or followed from a distance at least once since enrolling at MICA, and 17% indicated someone had approached them or showed up at their home, workplace, or school unwelcomed.
Statistics on stalking vary widely, but according to one study nationally 42.5% of students reported experiencing at least 1 behavioral indicator of stalking victimization; however, only 24.7% of those self-identified as being stalked.
Respondents reported one or more acts of sexual violence victimization while at MICA in a number of different ways:
Eleven percent were fondled, kissed, or rubbed up against, or had their clothing removed without consent when they were too drunk to stop what was happening.
Five percent were made to use their mouth to sexually stimulate someone else or were stimulated orally by another without their consent as the result of the other individual showing displeasure, criticizing their sexuality or attractiveness, or getting angry.
Six percent were penetrated without their consent when they were too drunk to stop what was happening.
Four percent were penetrated without their consent through the use of force.
The slight majority (52%) of incidents of sexual violence were reported to be perpetrated by a MICA student, and 38% took place on campus.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) maintains a fact sheet on campus sexual violence that can serve as a useful context for MICA's data. Regardless of how MICA compares to national statistics, any single act of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any other form of gender based discrimination is one too many. MICA will continue to implement, assess, and improve policies, procedures, and prevention efforts in tandem with our community to create a safer and more equitable experience for all.
MICA remains a community where peer influences are critically important. While any response rate short of 100% leaves work to be done, there was great strength in what students perceived of their peers and peer influences.
Ninety percent disagreed or strongly disagreed that their friends would approve of getting someone drunk or high to have sex with them
Ninety-nine percent disagreed or strongly disagreed that their friends would approve of using physical force to resolve conflicts with dates
Ninety-nine percent disagreed or strongly disagreed that their friends have told them that it is alright to physically force a person to have sex under certain conditions
Students' understanding of what constitutes consent was also largely positive. A series of questions asked to what degree you agreed or disagreed with certain statements:
Ninety percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement "If a person doesn't physically resist sex, they have given consent".
Ninety-six percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement "Consent for sex one time is consent for future sex".
Ninety-two percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement "If you and your sexual partner are both drunk, you don't have to worry about consent".
PERCEPTIONS OF MICA
For those who have been a part of our campus for more than the last two years, you know that a tremendous amount of work has been done by the College to assess and improve nearly all aspects of our gender based harassment and violence structures. This includes an independent internal audit of our systems, the creation of the Title IX Advisory Committee, the launch of new policies and investigatory models, a restructuring of the Title IX Team, and many other improvements.
MICA is committed to doing everything in its power to ensure this is a community free from gender based harassment and violence, and that means noticing the areas in which MICA needs to improve. That work remains was reflected in the responses, as is indicated in the following items:
Sixty-eight percent indicated it was likely or very likely that the institution would take a report seriously.
Sixty-nine percent indicated it was likely or very likely that MICA would maintain the privacy of the person making the report.
Fifty-five percent indicated it was likely or very likely that the College would handle the report fairly.
These responses are consistent with this entire section in the survey, where the majority of the answers are affirmative but in nearly every case well below 100%. We remain concerned about these perceptions and thus will continue to make improvements to our educational opportunities, investigation models, and victim support services in consultation with the Title IX Advisory Committee.
It is my sense that this survey, in many ways, confirmed what was already known about our campus. Many positive perceptions and areas of strength were highlighted and there is a recognition that significant improvements have happened in a short period of time. MICA has expanded harassment prevention training opportunities for employees and initiated pre-orientation education for incoming graduate students as an extension of the program already offered to undergraduate students. In addition, MICA, as part of a consortium of Baltimore area schools, was awarded a major grant from the Office of Violence Against Women to improve victim/survivor resources on our campus and across our city.
While these advances have had a positive impact on our campus, significant work remains to be done. I look forward to continuing to advance this work together with our entire community and thank the many individuals who have worked diligently to implement the changes we have made to date. It is my goal that no one operates in fear at MICA, and I am grateful for everyone in this community who works tireless to that end.
Estevanny Jiménez Turns
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Title IX Coordinator