Zoila Airall talks Title IX to Parents During Orientation

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Zoila Airall
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Zoila Airall, Ph.D., is Assistant Vice President of Campus Life for Student Affairs. She gave these remarks during an evening session for parents of arriving first-year Duke students.

As many of you may be aware, we sent every member of this year’s incoming first-year class two on-line trainings--Alcohol Edu and Haven. Haven is higher education’s first compliance-based program for primary sexual assault prevention. We carefully monitored student participation this summer because it is important to us that each member of this class understand definitions of sexual misconduct, the effects of alcohol on relationships and the ethics of relationships.

We also sent the two trainings to all parents. I will not ask for a show of hands about how many of you actually took the training or how many of you who took the training engaged your son or daughter in a conversation on the topic of sexual misconduct. If you did, you receive a BLUE STAR, because at Duke we do everything in blue and not gold!
But if you did not, there is time before you leave to have a conversation with your son or daughter.

Let me tell you why this is critical. Sexual misconduct is no longer misbehavior that remains silent on college campuses. In March 2013, the Sexual Violence Elimination Act--known as the Campus SaVE Act--was signed into law, requiring that college campuses provide transparency, accountability and education on the topic of sexual misconduct. And the Office of Civil Rights developed Title IX compliance guidelines for colleges and universities across the country.

There has been a national dialogue among government officials, scholars, educators and activists. This summer, Dean Sue, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students and I attended a national Sexual Assault Summit at Dartmouth with 300 colleagues from colleges and universities across the country to address best practices in prevention and intervention efforts.

Be assured that at Duke every undergraduate and graduate student, faculty and staff member will receive ongoing training and education during their tenure at this institution. We are encouraging open dialogue on the topic of sexual misconduct because students need to understand the range of sexual misconduct behavior, their rights and options, and the expectation to report all acts of sexual misconduct. Our sexual misconduct policy may be found on-line and in every Duke Community Standard Guide Book.  My colleagues in the Women’s Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Duke Wellness Center, and Student Conduct are prepared to work closely with victims and perpetrators of sexual misconduct violations.

It is not my intention to frighten you. It is my intention to assure you that at Duke we take this issue seriously. We are committed to providing the best prevention and intervention practices and procedures because we care about all of our students.

And because we care, it is our expectation that as parents, you understand the important role you have in joining us in this national movement to address sexual misconduct on college campuses. 

We welcome this partnership.

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