Expanding Bryant’s commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive learning environment, Bryant University has joined 20 other colleges and universities from across North America in rising to the challenge of comprehensively addressing campus sexual violence. This summer, the University became a cohort member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Culture of Respect Collective program. The NASPA Collective is an ambitious two-year program that guides cohort institutions through a rigorous process of self-assessment and targeted organizational change. The program will complement the University’s ongoing efforts focused on prevention of sexual violence that are collected under Title IX.
The program is designed to help universities work cross-departmentally and engage in peer-led learning in a cohort of 5-10 other colleges and universities as they engage in the critical work of strengthening sexual violence prevention and response efforts within a shifting social and political landscape.
“We need to continually expand our knowledge of [violence and sexual assault] issues and our understanding of how individuals are impacted in order to make change where it’s needed and ensure a safe climate for all.”
Bryant’s participation in the program is supported in part by a grant allocated by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
A safe campus climate for all
"Gender identity and expression, culture, neurodiversity, even technology – these are some of the areas that have impacted our understanding of violence and sexual assault issues, and we need to continually expand our knowledge of those issues and our understanding of how individuals are impacted in order to make change where it’s needed and ensure a safe climate for all,” says Mailee Kue, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Title IX Coordinator. Kue is helping to organize Bryant’s participation in the Collective.
This is why the participation of many people across campus is an important part of the program, says Kue. A strategic team of faculty, staff, students and campus leaders will support, inform and lead Bryant’s participation in the Collective that began with a Core Evaluation.
“Pulling together a team of faculty, staff and students for this initiative—that's really the exciting part about this new program. It will help us address change through a cultural lens, a key feature of the initiative.”
The Core Evaluation is a comprehensive, evidence-informed self-assessment framework that guides institutional leaders in inventorying their efforts to address sexual violence; in identifying how these efforts are codified into policy; and in assessing how this information is shared with the campus community and evaluated. The Core Evaluation tool is updated annually to incorporate new or emerging research and practices. NASPA provides data-backed feedback on the self-assessment, to be used in creating measurable objectives and goals for the University that will be re-evaluated in two years.
“Pulling together a team of faculty, staff and students for this initiative—that's really the exciting part about this new program. It will help us address change through a cultural lens, a key feature of the initiative in which stakeholders are spread throughout the University,” says Meaghan Trayner, Associate Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator. Trayner is also helping to organize Bryant’s participation in the Collective.
Partnerships currently include Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Human Resources. Student groups involved span Student Government, athletics and intramurals, fraternities and sororities, and multiple wellness student organizations.
“The collective is something I am so proud to be part of and I am looking forward to a great semester working with the other members getting the word out on how to prevent sexual violence on and off campus.”
Students participating say they are excited to work together in this worthy cause.
“We should continually have conversations on these topics to ensure that the Bryant experience is a safe and welcoming one for all. I am proud that Bryant has joined the many other colleges and universities across the country to participate in the Collective,” says Liam Fluharty ’23, President of the Bryant Student Government and member of the Collective leadership team.
“Sexual violence is something that unfortunately almost everyone has been through or knows someone who has been through it,” says Kayla Medeiros ’22, a member of the Collective leadership team as well as Peer Education & Prevention, a wellness student organization focused on violence prevention. “The collective is something I am so proud to be part of and I am looking forward to a great semester working with the other members getting the word out on how to prevent sexual violence on and off campus.”