Wentworth’s Sexual Misconduct Report and Institutional Response

Dear students, faculty, and staff:

Over the last few years, President Obama and the Congress have galvanized colleges and universities into addressing issues related to sexual misconduct on campuses. The White House Task Force recommended, but did not require, that colleges and universities conduct a survey to determine the types of sexual misconduct being experienced by students. Because of the critical importance of this issue for our community, Wentworth conducted a sexual misconduct survey of our students in spring 2015.

The survey collected information about students’ attitudes, behaviors, and experiences regarding sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and abusive relationships. It was distributed to 3,919 full-time day students, and 20 percent of our students responded. I thank every one of you who took the time to complete the survey. Your responses are very important and helped me and my administration to take appropriate, immediate steps.

Today, Wentworth is releasing a report containing results from this survey as well as information about how the Institute has responded to these results so far. The report is located at the following link: click here. Wentworth will be hosting information and discussion sessions on this topic this week and next week. I invite you to attend one of these sessions that will be held in the Multipurpose Room in the Flanagan Campus Center:

For Students

  • Wednesday, May 25, from Noon – 1:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 31, from 3:30– 4:30 p.m.

For Faculty and Staff

  • Thursday, May 26 from Noon – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 1 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Wentworth has had in place comprehensive policies, procedures, and training concerning Title IX and sexual misconduct. The data collected from the survey helped to inform and improve training during the 2015-2016 academic year for faculty, staff and students; intervention and protocol response; and educational programming and will continue to do so. The following steps were taken during the 2015 – 2016 academic year:

The Division of Student Affairs: 

  • Additional bystander training for new students during new student orientation and Wentworth Opening Week (summer 2015 and continuing).
  • Additional Title IX training and reporting requirement for student orientation leaders, resident assistants, resident directors, and first-year seminar instructors (summer 2015 and continuing).

The Academic Division:

  • Deans and Department Chairs were informed of the survey results concerning attitudes, beliefs, and reported harassment experiences in academic facilities.  Presentation included: Institute policies governing conduct of faculty, staff, and students; reminders about reporting obligations; and available resources.

Department of Public Safety:

  • All public safety officers continue to be state certified sexual assault investigators.
  • Promoted Clery report on multiple sites guiding students on process for reporting sexual misconduct and available resources.
  • Increased efforts to publicize Rape Aggression Defense (“RAD”) training for women and a similar program for men, which led to increased participation rates in recent sessions.

Institute-wide Campus Climate Committee:

  • I appointed an Institute-wide Campus Climate Committee with a charge to examine and evaluate the survey results and to make recommendations to me on ongoing responses and training. The members of the committee and its charge can be found at this link: click here.
  • The committee was convened in fall 2015 and meets monthly. There are three subcommittees – (1) Student Programming; (2) Faculty/Staff Training; and (3) Communication – that meet independently reporting back to the full committee about ongoing analysis and work. 

We share an institutional responsibility and commitment to improving the campus climate and addressing issues of sexual misconduct. Your thoughts and feedback are important to me and the Campus Climate Committee.

Please forward any ideas and suggestions to the Campus Climate Committee chairs: Vice President/Dean of Students Annamaria Wenner via email at wennera@wit.edu or phone 617-989-4410 and Vice President/Title IX Coordinator Anne Gill via email at gilla@wit.edu or phone 617-989-4193.

I will be keeping you informed of measures being taken throughout this new academic year to address the issues identified in the survey and progress made. Please also keep up to date on this work by visiting Sexual Misconduct Resources and Support

Best regards,

Zorica Pantić

President
Wentworth Institute of Technology