Facebook, texting, even Twitter are all creating complicated new issues surrounding sexual harassment and assault on campus. The University of Washington is in the early stages of a new program aimed at addressing some of those issues.
Speaking to the UW Board of Regents Thursday, President Michael Young described an 18-point plan to prevent sexual assaults, which includes new efforts to educate students about what constitutes sexual assault, and where to go for help.
Young emphasized that he did not think the university had a problem with sexual assaults, but that “any level (of assaults) is unacceptable.”
Ellen Taylor, assistant vice president for student life and director of the UW’s counseling center, said the prevalence of new high-tech tools and services have made it difficult to draw a line between what constitutes a proper level of communication, and what constitutes harassment. It’s easy for passionate young adults in intense relationships to step over the line, she said.
The university is working on updating its own policy and protocols, and expanding education and training, she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the UW reported two cases of forcible sex offenses on-campus in 2012, and 11 cases off-campus. The DOE requires all campuses that participate in federal student aid programs to submit campus crime statistics.