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Discussing Student Sexual Misconduct: Web Links for Educators
by rjp218 Jul 21, 2015

Welcome! Student sexual misconduct is a problem on many college campuses. This toolkit of online resources and activities is designed for educators in classrooms or other academic units who want to engage students in discussions about sexual misconduct. Although this toolkit is designed for Penn State, our hope is that it will benefit educators everywhere.

Educators who are looking for a quick overview of critical information should use the Quick Overviews section.

What does the toolkit contain?

The toolkit was designed with the results of empirical research in mind. Psychological research helped us determine what information and activities to include. Our own ongoing research is also helping us determine which messages are critical for different sets of people, and how discussions and activities reflect and impact students’ attitudes. Please see the Presentation Recommendation section for details.

Sexual misconduct is multifaceted, as are potential discussion topics and interventions. The Internet can lead to thousands of webpages that could support worthwhile discussions and activities, but it is unlikely that a toolkit pointing to thousands of potential resources would get much use from time-constrained educators. Consequently, this toolkit is designed to provide educators with information about many of the critical issues involved without going overboard (out of necessity, it is still a bit large). None the less, if you believe we should add something to the toolkit, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

How do I use it?

Please use the nav bar on the left to access topics. On each page, you will see a list of web locations followed by brief descriptions about what information each web location offers. This should make it easier for you to find the information you need quickly. Click on the web location to access information. After each classroom activities and multimedia resource, we also include brief information about how the resource could be used to support discussion, self-reflection, and learning. Make sure to check out our recommendations for presenting and PowerPoint Presentation minis.

Instructor Responsibilities and Expectations

Because bonds of trust are often built between instructor and student, students may feel comfortable disclosing information about sexual violence to their instructors. Should students disclose information regarding their being a victim of sexual violence, instructors ought to be aware of direct resource advice. The Immediate Crisis page offers helpful guidelines for immediate resources instructors can share with students who report victimization. Additionally, Penn State's SHARE website offers educational as well as reporting resources.

Instructors have responsibilities once made aware that a student has been the victim of a sexual assault or rape. Penn State's Policy AD85 on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct outlines the expectations for instructors. When a victim is under the age of 18 additional reporting may also be appropriate. Instructors should review Policy AD72 Reporting Suspected Child Abuse for further information.

Caution Warning

Caution warnings are placed on a variety of media content, including, but not limited to websites, images, videos, and discussion forums. Broadly speaking, caution warnings indicate that the content may cause intense feelings and/or emotions in the viewer. More specifically, the warnings prevent someone who may potentially have a strong or harmful emotional response (for example, post-traumatic flashbacks) from encountering the content uninformed. These intense and potentially damaging responses are referred to as “being triggered.” Caution warnings allow the viewer to decide in advance whether or not it is appropriate for them to view the content. The caution warnings in this toolkit indicate that some content may cause complex thoughts and emotions, flashbacks, and /or exacerbate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for a survivor of sexual violence.

Who designed the toolkit?

This toolkit was created by current and former students of the PRISM group (Penn Staters Researching Interventions for Social Misconduct). Initial content decisions were made primarily by Jordanna Lembo (class of 2014), Celia Pagano (class of 2013), Kristin Karg (class of 2013), and Andrew Peck (PhD), PRISM director, Senior Lecturer, and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology. Additional content decisions will be made by the PRISM group, Andrew Peck and members of the Rock Ethics Institute.  

Collaboration with the Rock Ethics Institute is driven by Sarah Clark Miller, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Rock Ethics Institute. The Rock Ethics Institute provides web-design support and maintains the toolkit. This project was funded internally by Penn State and the College of Liberal Arts.