Our campus approach
Cornell recognizes sexual violence and related forms of misconduct (dating violence, domestic violence, sexual harassment, stalking) are serious campus and public health issues that affect every member of our community.
Sexual violence causes significant harm to those who are victimized, indirectly harms others and contributes to a climate of hostility and fear that is antithetical to the learning mission of the university.
Sexual violence and related misconduct are cultural phenomena shaped by factors at multiple levels. Effective prevention requires a comprehensive approach that addresses individuals, groups, the institution, the local community and the broader society. Provision of educational strategies and support services that adequately address the unique needs of students, staff and faculty must involve coordination among multiple university departments, student organizations and faculty members. Given that effective prevention and response to sexual violence is a shared responsibility, an integrated framework involving the entire Cornell community is essential.
This page provides details of the "Sexual Violence Framework" that supports our campus efforts, along with key examples of services, programs, policies, and other initiatives designed to prevent, educate, and respond to the problem.
Priorities and initiatives:
The following priorities form the components of Cornell's Sexual Violence Framework.
Challenge contributing social-cultural factors
Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention: Staff, faculty, graduate/professional and undergraduate student leaders inform the development of prevention and intervention strategies related to sexual and dating violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and stalking.
Sexual Violence Prevention Sub-Committee: A group of key staff from different campus departments and divisions that, in collaboration with others, establishes priorities for prevention, identifies effective educational strategies and innovative programming opportunities and makes recommendations to meet compliance with related laws and policies.
The Cornell Social Consultant (CSC) Program:This group of student leaders identifies, develops, and implements environmental interventions within various communities to foster positive social interactions and healthy relationships. The goal of this student group, sponsored by the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, is to reduce the risk of sexual violence by transforming environments into more positive social settings while simultaneously shifting group cultural norms that may contribute to the risk of sexual violence.
Enhance education & outreach
The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives provides sexual violence prevention leadership including innovative environmental and educational strategies, data collection, community engagement and response and support to those affected. In collaboration with campus partners, efforts include:
Sexual & dating violence education: Cornell’s ongoing, comprehensive educational programs and campaigns are culturally-relevant, inclusive of diverse communities and identities, sustainable, responsive to community needs, informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome, and consider environmental risk and protective factors as they occur on the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels. For example, every April, in collaboration with staff, students organize Sexual Assault Awareness Week to raise awareness of sexual misconduct and related issues.
New student training: All incoming first- year and graduate/professional students are expected to complete orientation requirements that address building healthy relationships and establishing community norms of respect. Residential workshops, lectures, awareness activities, and other programs provide educational opportunities throughout the academic year. Federal and state mandates requiring sexual assault education are met through orientation programs (online for graduate and professional students; in person presentations for undergraduate students) and innovative bystander intervention training opportunities to promote a respectful community environment.
Cultivation of a Caring Community: Training for student organizations, student leaders and staff and faculty provides information about accessing care, reporting options, and safe and effective bystander intervention methods.
Student-led educational interventions: Students groups (e.g. Greek Health and Wellness Chairs, and CSCs) promote group interventions that shift cultural norms and provide innovative ways to reduce the risk of sexual violence. The CORE RAs (COmmunity and REspect Resident Assistant) within Residential Programs, a select group of resident advisors from each residential community, receive on-going training, provide awareness activities and inform students of supportive campus and community resources available to individuals who have been impacted by any form of sexual misconduct.
Media communication: Posters, resource cards, and web pages promote positive social norms and educate the community about consent, the importance of bystander interventions and the availability of campus resources and support services.
Faculty and staff education: Employees are offered educational opportunities to learn about reporting options and resources for students in the event a student discloses sexual misconduct.
Monitor and evaluate climate issues, programs, & services
Biennial data collection and analysis: In order to monitor trends and inform program development, a student survey to measure incidence and prevalence of sexual and dating violence, knowledge of resources, and reporting options after victimization is conducted every other year. Not only does this meet state requirements for surveying the student population but it provides ongoing information and valuable insight about the context in which victimization occurs.
Bias Assessment & Review Team (BART): This team assesses all documented bias incidents in a timely manner to determine the appropriate response, and to complete intervention steps in conjunction with the appropriate campus partners as necessary.
Tracking of reports and complaints: The Cornell Title IX office (titleix.cornell.edu) is responsible for annual reviews of reports and complaints to the University in order to assess climate concerns and provide or suggest programming based on identified needs.
Promote help-seeking & reporting
Cornell’s SHARE website: The university's Sexual Harassment and Assault: Response & Education (SHARE) website (SHARE.cornell.edu) is a comprehensive website which provides information about helping a friend, the availability of medical and counseling services, as well as other support and reporting options.
Promote help-seeking: The Cornell Title IX office (titleix.cornell.edu) is responsible for compliance with applicable state and federal statutes, including Title IX of the Federal Higher Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity receiving federal financial aid. Through Cornell University Policy 6.4 and the Title IX office, students, staff, and faculty are provided information about the reporting of, and remedies for, incidents of bias, discrimination, harassment, and sexual and related misconduct, including gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation.
Annual training: Residential student and professional staff receive annual training on providing support and resources to students living in residential housing.
Provide coordinated victim support/services
Victim Advocacy Program: Advocates provide client-centered services to students after an incident through support, connection to resources, information, academic considerations and provision of reporting options.
Cornell Health: Staff members provide a collaborative approach to health care. Medical and counseling professionals work together to provide care for students who have experienced assault or abuse. •Crisis Managers: Staff members are on-call at all times to coordinate the university’s response to crisis situations.
Community collaboration: Campus services and local agencies (e.g., the Tompkins County Advocacy Center and Cayuga Medical Center’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program) provide coordinated care and services.
Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) Emergency Department: Treats individuals seeking care after an instance of sexual assault or domestic violence. Trained SANE nurses (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) are available to collect forensic evidence as needed.
Enhance security of the physical & social environment
The Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC): This committee reviews and makes recommendations for the improvement of current campus security policies, plans and procedures. PSAC’s review and recommendations are, in part, informed by communication with and participation in the Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention.
Cornell Police (CUPD): Community members can call CUPD to report an incident. Crime prevention officers can provide safety assessments and help develop safety plans as needed.
Enforce laws / policies & sanction offenders
Consistent enforcement of laws & policies: The Title IX Coordinator, Judicial Administrator, Cornell Police and local (Ithaca) police strive for clear and consistent enforcement of policies and laws. Campus policy information is designed to comply with state and federal mandates on reporting sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
The Cornell Social Consultants (CSC) Program:
This student-led sexual violence prevention initiative strives to reduce sexual and intimate partner violence by creating a campus culture in which respect and positive relationships are the norm.
The goals of the CSC Program are to:
- disrupt the cultural elements that enable sexual and dating violence
- replace them with new intentions and practices
Students in the CSC program:
- work within their communities to identify and implement positive shifts in their social circles. CSCs work in creative and innovative ways to nurture a safer and more enjoyable environment in which students can thrive
- focus on shifting patterns within social environments that may contribute to the risk of sexual violence and proactively create a more positive sexual and social culture at Cornell
- foster a healthier sexual environment which reduces the camouflage of sexual norms that increase the likelihood of sexual coercion and violence.
Applying to be a CSC:
The CSC Program is a paid student position. CSCs are expected to work three to five hours per week. The application period for the 2019-2020 academic year is now closed.
The Cornell Social Consultant (CSC) Program is modeled after the Communication and Consent Educator Program at Yale University – a program developed by Dr. Melanie Boyd, which is showing early success in reducing risk and promoting more positive behaviors among students.
For more information regarding Cornell’s approach to sexual violence prevention please visit SHARE.cornell.edu.