Kent State Takes Initiative To Combat Sexual Violence On Campus

Kent State University has joined the Culture of Respect Collective, a two-year initiative offered through the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), to help end sexual violence on campus.

Parents of college-aged students in 2013 created Culture of Respect. They met with a team of public health and violence prevention researchers and experts in advocacy, student affairs, higher education policy, and law to unveil the program's first cohort.

The program aids in helping universities to create policies and programs which help support survivors. It also works to prevent sexual violence and make it known that it is not acceptable. Culture of Respect will help guide Kent State through a rigorous self-analysis process and pointed organizational change that will look closely at the following areas: survivor support, transparent policies, multi-tiered prevention, public disclosure, school wide mobilization, and assessment.  

"When we talk about addressing sexual and relationship violence, it needs to be a comprehensive, cohesive process that impacts response, awareness information, and prevention education," said Director for Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services, Jennie O'Connell. "While we do a lot already, this will allow us to assess what we are currently doing in relation to best and promising practice and to ensure all components are working in partnership with one another."

Another part of the process, according to O'Connell, is prevention.

"Questions such as how are we educating our students on prevention skills, how are we ensuring all students are receiving awareness information," she said. "The general student body does not receive direct prevention education past [their first year]," adding they are also examining what the university does as an institution, studying other institutions to use as a model potentially.

To help oversee and facilitate Kent State's assessment and institutional change as part of the Culture of Respect Collective, the university has put together a leadership team consisting of administrators, staff, faculty, and students.  

“I am excited to work with the individuals on the leadership team,” said O’Connell. "They each bring value to the discussion and a wealth of experience and expertise towards meaningful change to shape how Kent State addresses and prevents sexual and relationship violence.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Lamar Hylton is excited about taking part in the Culture of Respect Collective and thinks this is another step in the right direction towards making the campus even safer.

“Our participation is yet another demonstration of our commitment to eradicating sexual violence across our university system,” he said. “I am so pleased that we are taking this next step to further enhance our work around sexual violence prevention and doing so in such a collaborative way with so many colleagues from around the university.”

For more information on Culture of Respect, please visit its website.

For more information on the Center for Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services at Kent State, visit its website

POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 09:28 AM
Updated: Friday, March 24, 2023 09:36 AM
Matt Lupica