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Cornell launches new program to address sexual assault

A new program for Cornell faculty and staff, “Building a Culture of Respect: Responding to Sexual Violence, Harassment and Discrimination,” is now online. All new faculty and staff are required to take this course. Current faculty and staff are expected to take this course, even if they completed the original “Respect at Cornell” program that has been offered for several years.

Like its predecessor, “Building a Culture of Respect” promotes inclusivity to create a culture in which people of all backgrounds feel safe and welcome. Consonant with new federal guidelines, the course describes appropriate responses faculty and staff should take if they learn that a member of the Cornell community has experienced any type of sexual assault or violence or stalking. The program delineates the university’s expectations around protected-status harassment and discrimination, and promotes “bystander intervention” to inhibit potential acts of sexual violence.

“As members of the Cornell community, we all share the responsibility for creating a safer, more caring campus culture in which bias, harassment and violence have no place,” wrote Vice Presidents Mary Opperman and Susan Murphy in an email to all members of the Cornell community.

The university also has updated its SHARE (Sexual Harassment and Assault – Response and Education) website, which provides information on how Cornell is addressing sexual assault/violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. It also lets faculty and staff know how to file a complaint.

A number of other initiatives are being executed across campus to combat sexual assault, including those by the university’s Council on Sexual Violence Prevention, to further educate faculty, staff and student populations on ways to address sexual assault and violence.

Questions or concerns? Contact the university’s Title IX coordinators – Lynette Chappell-Williams, Anita Brenner, Alan Mittman and Mary Beth Grant – through

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Joe Schwartz