November 2,

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NCAA Releases Sexual Violence Prevention Toolkit

With the academic sports year underway, it's important to highlight and utilize a new sexual violence prevention toolkit released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Sport Science Institute in partnership with the NCAA Office of Inclusion. Sexual Violence Prevention: An Athletics Tool Kit for a Healthy and Safe Culture (PDF) was published in September 2016 in response to the NCAA's Sexual Assault Task Force's 2015 call to action "to provide clear direction on a curriculum that will help athletics departments engage in education, collaboration and compliance surrounding sexual violence issues."

The toolkit addresses five core commitments that are essential for NCAA member institutions and athletic departments to focus on in order to develop and promote a cultural change on campuses, one that is safe and free from violence. The toolkit includes checklists, implementation tools, and resources, including action plan worksheets, to enable institutions to achieve the recommendations outlined throughout the five commitments. The new toolkit builds upon previous work completed and released in the 2014 NCAA document, Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence: Athletics' Role in Support of Healthy and Safe Campuses (PDF).
The five core commitments include:
  • Leadership: Athletics directors must be clear and consistent in prioritizing the need for all student-athletes and athletics staff to commit to sexual violence prevention and appropriate response.
  • Collaboration: In order to initiate a culture change that makes sexual violence prevention efforts successful, athletics must form a team with other campus departments, taking advantage of available campus resources and working to succeed at two different levels: in the development of campus-wide policy and the tactical implementation of programs.
  • Compliance & Accountability: Institutional compliance is non-negotiable and compels accountability for legal requirements. When athletics department staff and student-athletes embrace their accountability for sexual violence prevention, they serve as agents of broader cultural change.
  • Education: Educational programming should be evidence-based and tailored to meet the needs of student-athletes. Complementary educational programming must be provided for those individuals who directly influence student-athletes' decision-making and behaviors.
  • Student-Athlete Engagement: It is critical that student-athletes are integrally involved in the planning and implementation of sexual violence prevention programs, and receive information and life-skills training that empower them to address emerging concerns and intervene appropriately with their peers. 
The NCAA toolkit has been endorsed by many organizations including the Association for Student Conduct Administration; International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators; Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education; Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors; It's On US; and many others, for its comprehensive approach that supports athletic departments in their sexual violence prevention efforts.

Access the VA Campus Toolkit.
Veterans on Campus
Student veterans are growing in number on college campuses. According to the National Center for PTSD, there were approximately 500,000  student veterans and beneficiaries receiving education benefits in 2009, and this number grew to over 1,000,000 in 2013. Ninety-six percent of all post-secondary institutions enroll student veterans - 62 percent of which are first generation students and nearly three-quarters of which are male.
While an increasing number of institutions of higher education are recognizing veterans as a distinct demographic group, with specific needs, many student veterans report feeling slightly less supported or engaged on campus than non-veteran/civilian students according to the 2012 American Council on Education report,  Student Veterans/Service Members' Engagement in College and University Life and Education (PDF). The report examines how student veterans/service members and their peers differ in their perception about and their engagement in academic activities and campus life. " Though many student veterans/service members report good relationships with faculty, they are not as likely to report good relationships with other students and are less likely to engage with other students when completing class assignments. As a result, these student veterans/service members may not be benefiting from important interactions that lead to improved academic integration in their campus environment."  Roughly t wo-thirds of those surveyed said their colleges helped them cope with their non-academic responsibilities "sometimes/never." This report may assist higher education administrators in initiating dialogue with faculty, staff, and student veterans/service members on their campuses regarding the quality of veterans' and service members' academic experiences. 
There are several resources available to college faculty, staff, and administrators to aid in supporting student veterans:
  • 8 Keys to Success: The Obama Administration, the Department of Education, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in conjunction with more than 100 education experts, developed eight concrete steps that institutions can take to help veterans and service members transition into the classroom and thrive once they are there. Since the initiative began in 2013, more than 2,100 colleges and universities have committed to supporting veterans as they pursue their education and employment goals.
  • VA Campus Toolkit: The VA Campus Toolkit helps campuses welcome veterans by recognizing who they are; outlining common adjustment experiences; offering tips and resources for faculty, staff, administrators, and students; sharing information on the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) Initiative; and providing resources for training and presentations. 
  • Veterans on Campus Training: Kognito offers two online training programs: Veterans on Campus for Faculty & Staff - an interactive learning experience that helps faculty and staff understand the needs, experiences, and cultural issues affecting student veterans, and Veterans on Campus: Peer Program - developed in collaboration with Student Veterans of America as a peer-to-peer mentoring program for fellow Veterans on campus. 
  • VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC): VSOC, developed by the VA, is designed to help veterans, service members, and their qualified dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits assistance and counseling. VSOC began as a pilot program in 2009 at the University of South Florida and there are now 94 VSOC sites.
Higher education faculty, staff, and administrators can find additional school resources to support student veterans and information on training opportunities, enrollment systems, job aids, presentations, and more on the VA website.  

Access our online calendar of events.
Professional Development Opportunities

Title:  The New England Higher Education Emergency Managers Symposium
Organization: The Boston Consortium for Higher Education Emergency Managers
Dates: December 1-2, 2016
Location: Wellesley, MA
Fee: Registration Fee

Title: Course: V-002A - Virtual Tabletop Exercise Series - Active Shooter (College Campus with Hostages)
Organization: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Date: December 6, 7, or 8, 2016
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: Campus Emergencies Prevention, Response, and Recovery (MGT-324)
Organization: National Center for Biomedical Research and Training
Dates: January 25-26, 2017
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Fee: Free

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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