Dartmouth Recognized for Sexual-Assault Prevention Efforts

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The College received the award at the Campus Prevention Network summit in Boston.

an aerial view of campus, with green trees and mountains in the background
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Dartmouth is one of five recipients of the Campus Prevention Network’s 2017 Prevention Excellence Award for outstanding achievements in sexual assault prevention.

“This award is a huge honor,” says Caitlin Barthelmes, director of the Student Wellness Center. “It’s a real testament to all the hard work that's been happening on our campus for many years around this subject. But it also highlights the fact that we have a lot more work to do and that this is one step in the right direction.”

Amanda Childress, associate director of the Student Wellness Center and lead developer of the College’s Sexual Violence Prevention Project (SVPP), accepted the award on behalf of Dartmouth at the annual Campus Prevention Network Summit on June 12 in Boston. The event was hosted by EVERFI, an education technology company.

The Sexual Violence Prevention Project is one part of Dartmouth’s comprehensive Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative, outlined by President Phil Hanlon in a January 2015 address to the College community. MDF is an effort to make the Dartmouth campus more inclusive and reduce high-risk behavior, particularly binge drinking and sexual assault, among the students who live and learn here.

Among the major MDF initiatives that have been instituted since 2015 are the founding of the house community system, expanding of the campus bystander initiative, and establishment of a framework for ongoing external assessment of the College’s progress by a review committee. The external review panel released its second MDF progress assessment to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees in December 2016.

The Campus Prevention Network, founded by EVERFI, is a nationwide initiative of over 1,700 institutions dedicated to creating safer, healthier campus communities, according to the network website. Member institutions pledge to adopt the highest standards of prevention related to sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and to assess the progress of their efforts through services assessing the institution’s current prevention policies and programs.

Dartmouth, which completed EVERFI’s diagnostic inventory in the spring of 2016, was ranked alongside 88 other colleges and universities that had each completed the comprehensive assessment of prevention programs and initiatives on their campuses. The other four institutions recognized for excellence in sexual assault prevention were American University, Juniata College, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Vanderbilt University.

As outlined in President Hanlon’s MDF plan, the College is developing a four-year sexual-violence prevention and education program for students. Spearheaded by Childress, this Sexual Violence Prevention Project aims to reduce sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and harassment through a coordinated, embedded system of educational opportunities that begin before matriculation and continue through all students’ experience at Dartmouth, says Barthelmes.

Several components of the Sexual Violence Prevention Project are already in place, particularly for pre-matriculated and first-year students, and Childress and her team are continuing to develop and pilot programs targeted at sophomores, juniors and seniors, Barthelmes says. EVERFI is a provider of some of the online components of Dartmouth’s violence prevention efforts.

“By engaging with the project over time, we hope students will increase skills around bystander intervention, proactive consent, and respectful communication across difference, and feel more equipped to use resources and support services,” Barthelmes says.

Bill Platt