Campus Sexual Assault Policy: Problems and Progress Conference

Sexual assault is prevalent on campuses across Michigan and the country. Most assaults go unreported, and myths and misunderstanding have too often shaped policy responses. Seeking to catalyze change, in April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a letter determining that Title IX applies to campus sexual misconduct, including assault.

The Center and our partners are hosting Campus Sexual Assault Policy: Problems and Progress, a two-day conference on October 25-26, 2012 to look at the impact of the letter one year later. It will bring together institutional policy makers–primarily from the state of Michigan–and community-based sexual assault programs to discuss and develop policies in regard to Title IX compliance. The conference is designed so that research and promising prac¬tices presented on Day One will inform policy design workshops and policy recommendations on Day Two.

Day One of the conference is open to everyone. Speakers will include forensic psychologist David Lisak, on the realities of campus sexual assault and experiences of male survivors; Rebecca Campbell (Michigan State University), Jennifer Solidum Rose (University of Hawaii-Manoa), and Tricia Bent-Goodley (Howard University) on supports and barriers to empowering diverse survivors; and Mary Koss (University of Arizona) on restorative justice. In addition, a campus roundtable will showcase policy and practice innovations addressing such issues as reporting obligations, balancing survivor confidentiality and community safety, investiga¬tive procedures, and effective sanctioning at a number of colleges and universities across the country.

The second day will be a working conference designed for teams of institutional policy mak¬ers from Michigan colleges and universities to review, assess and develop the policies and practices at their institutions. During their individual work sessions many of the experts will be available for consultation. Day Two will also feature a talk by U-M Associate General Counsel, Maya Kobersy, and will conclude with a sum¬mary of findings and feedback to the Office for Civil Rights in order to build future policy recommendations applicable at institutional, state and national levels.

Campus Sexual Assault Policy: Problems and Progress is supported by a grant from the University of Michigan National Center for Institutional Diversity. Ad¬ditional sponsors include, at U-M, the Center for the Education of Women, the CEW Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund, Abuse Hurts, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Women’s Studies Department, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Ford School of Public Policy and the SHARP Center for Women and Girls. The Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Michigan Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Treatment Board are collaborating partners.

For more information, see the conference website at or contact