Faculty Senate passes resolution on student safety and security

To emphasize its concern regarding personal violence and public safety on campus, as well as its support of university initiatives addressing these issues, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution Thursday, Nov. 7, that will further faculty involvement in violence prevention efforts.

Faculty Senate Chair Donald Brady (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

“I am very proud of the action that the Faculty Senate has taken to support student safety and security, both through encouraging faculty to be resources for students and through becoming more aware themselves about the role each of us can take in preventing and addressing power-based violence,” said Donald Brady, chair of the Faculty Senate. “This member-driven resolution also demonstrated the incredible collaboration that can occur across the campus—involving students, faculty and administration—to tackle important issues.”

The resolution calls for all faculty senators to participate in the Vanderbilt University Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness (VU PETSA) training module. In response to new federal requirements and as part of ongoing efforts to enhance awareness of initiatives and resources to prevent sexual assault, Vanderbilt produced the new education module earlier this year. VU PETSA is a series of videos that is part of an educational initiative required by the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, known as Campus SaVE, passed in March 2013.

Currently all first-year and transfer students are required to complete the VU PETSA online tutorial and quiz. However, anyone can participate in the tutorial by visiting the VU PETSA website.

A formal partnership between the Faculty Senate and the Green Dot initiative also will be established, resulting in one Faculty Senate representative serving as a member of the Green Dot committee each year. The green dot is the symbol and name of a national program designed to provide a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence. The program has been adopted at a number of colleges and universities across the country. Vanderbilt adopted the model in 2009.

The Green Dot model targets all community members and seeks to engage them through awareness, education and skills practice in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations—resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence.

Under the resolution, existing university task forces that deal with issues related to personal violence and sexual assault also will be asked to report their findings to the Faculty Senate at least once per year.

Additionally, all academic departments are expected to join in formal discussions with designated student advocates and student affairs professional staff in order to promote better understanding of the issues associated with sexual assault and to provide appropriate, high-quality care for sexual assault survivors.