Sexual Assault Education & Prevention

President Reif charged Chancellor Barnhart with leading the administration’s sexual assault education and prevention efforts in February 2014. Since then, a series of actions has been taken:

  • A survey of Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault (CASA) produced baseline data.
  • The Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Task Force’s final report outlined a strategic roadmap and specific strategies to address gender-based violence at MIT.
  • The Chancellor formed the Task Force on the Institute Response to Sexual Misconduct, which released its recommendations on updating the Committee on Discipline process. New Committee on Discipline rules will take effect in October 2015.

Voices Get Results

The community’s voice helped get results. They shared their views through the CASA survey results, the Chancellor’s listening sessions with students, the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Task Force recommendations, and town hall meetings conducted by the Task Force on the Institute Response to Sexual Misconduct. MIT is developing more education and training, enhancing comprehensive outreach and support resources, and implementing a strategic roadmap for the future.

  • Improved Education and Training
    • Incoming undergraduate and graduate students and new faculty and staff are now required to complete education and prevention training.
    • More peer-to-peer training opportunities have been identified and launched, such as a sexual health peer education program and the MIT Men’s Group.
    • Bystander intervention training opportunities have been increased so that community members can learn how to look out for one another.
    • The student “It’s on Us MIT” initiative is raising awareness by encouraging everyone to learn about sexual misconduct, think about how to make a positive impact, act when something doesn’t feel right, and support the people in our community by listening.
    • Information about MIT’s policy on sexual misconduct is sent to all students annually via email, and the Mind and Hand Book, which contains the sexual misconduct policy and other related policies, is actively promoted to raise awareness.

  • More Outreach and Support Resources
    • MIT has increased the number of staff providing education, advocacy, and complaint-handling services.
    • Barriers to reporting incidents have been reduced in a number of ways. Recent efforts include updating the Institute’s policies and procedures, enhancing the sexual assault and misconduct website, and increasing training for members of the Committee on Discipline, including specialized training for those who review cases that involve sexual misconduct.

What’s Next

  • Since the October 2014 release of the CASA survey results, students, faculty, and staff have come together to raise awareness about what constitutes sexual misconduct, how to prevent it, and resources that can help. Chancellor Barnhart spoke with MIT News and The Tech on progress to date, and new efforts to combat sexual assault at MIT.
  • New Committee on Discipline rules for complaints of sexual misconduct are now in effect. The revised rules aim to make the process more accessible and streamlined, while still ensuring fairness for everyone who participates.
  • Professor David Singer is chairing a new standing Presidential Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. The Committee, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, will provide recommendations to the chancellor, the provost, the Institute community and equity officer, and the vice president for human resources.
  • The Title IX Office and Violence Prevention Response (VPR) have launched a new public awareness campaign, based on the CASA survey results, to prevent misconduct and change attitudes. Keep an eye out for the posters around campus.
  • Area directors have been trained in "Party Safe-Plus" training. In order to expand the reach of the training, VPR and the Division of Student Life are offering financial incentives to the floors in undergraduate dorms that train the most people. Talk to your AD and sign your floor up!

Get Involved

To get involved in the Chancellor’s sexual assault education & prevention work, email AllThingsStudents@mit.edu.

Mind and Hand Book

The official guide to MIT's expectations of all undergraduate and graduate students.

Mind and Hand Book