MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

Over the past two weeks, you may have noticed an email with a link to the SUNY Sexual Violence Prevention Climate Survey and seen the MCC Daily Tribune post from Kristin Lowe about the survey and its purpose. I hope you have completed the survey already; if not, I ask that you do so.

Today, I also want to ask you to encourage our students to complete the survey. Last cycle, our students' response rate was below 3%. A response rate this low makes it difficult for us or for SUNY to draw any conclusions about the prevalence of sexual and interpersonal violence experienced by our students or their understanding of reporting options, College policies, and available resources.

I fully recognize that the topic of campus sexual harassment and violence is not one that any of us looks forward to discussing. We may not want to believe that it could happen at MCC. We may have had personal experiences with sexual harassment or violence and find the topic too difficult to face. We may simply feel uncomfortable raising the topic with students and think it is outside the scope of our roles at the College.

Yet, the data tell us that this topic cannot and must not be avoided. College students experience sexual harassment and violence at a disturbingly high rate. Nearly two-thirds of students report experiencing sexual harassment at college. Over a quarter of female students report unwanted touching; 20-25% of female students and 15% of male students are victims of forced sex during college. (all data National Sexual Violence Research Center)

And, the voices of student survivors are raw and direct about what they have experienced, why they all too often don't report and don't seek help, and how a moment can impact a life.

The language of Title IX is brief and to the point:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Research shows that experiencing sexual harassment and violence has a real and lasting impact on students; it denies them the benefits of their educational program. A recent study of New England college students showed those experiencing sexual harassment and violence are more likely to drop classes and have lower GPAs. In another study, over 90% of respondents reported that sexual violence they experienced in college impacted their ability to realize their academic and career goals.

MCC cannot respond appropriately if we do not know the extent of our students' experiences of sexual harassment and violence or the degree to which they understand how to report and how to access services. Please help us help our students by encouraging them to complete the SUNY Survey. It is not a topic any of us wants to bring up, but I hope you will.

If you have any questions about the survey or MCC's Title IX programming and response, please contact Assistant to the President for Title IX Kristin Lowe, and as always, share your thoughts and comments on the blog.

Kress, Anne
Office of the President