Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project

Department

Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Dana Schowalter and Aislinn Addington

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks

Abstract

Sexual assault is extremely prevalent on college campuses, with an estimated 25% of college women reporting that they have experienced some form of sexual assault (Beaver, 2017). With federal and state policies written around trying to support adjudication regarding sexual assault, independent task forces created, and entire university departments dedicated towards helping assault survivors, it seems that this problem should be alleviated. Critics argue that university departments are biased and not doing their job in order to protect schools, or that policies are written in order to erase so many experiences from receiving help. Academia looks into the psychological effects of trauma on post-secondary students and analyses endless sets of data in order to find trends related to various policies, yet the same problem seems to keep creeping up. As of yet, there hasn’t been a comprehensive look at how these policies and their affected college departments are connected. This thesis dives into the world of Title IX and sexual assault policy from the lense of sexual assault resource and Title IX staff members on Oregon Public University campuses. Through researching federal and state policies and the guidance that the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force provides to Title IX and sexual assault resource departments on university campuses, I was able to perform interviews with various staff members about how they are able to implement policies. Through latent thematic analysis of these interviews, I found that Title IX and sexual assault resource departments are severely unsupported and working in a way that is unsustainable. My conclusions lead me to suggest that it is unethical to create policies that focus on trauma without using holistic verbiage and providing necessary and adequate resources.

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