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‘We hear you’: UVM updates community on handling of sexual violence

November 19, 2021

UVM sent a video to the student body about its ongoing efforts to address the handling of sexual violence in a Nov. 18 email from Patricia Prelock, provost and senior vice president. 

In light of students and community members asking the University to examine its handling of reported sexual misconduct cases, survivor support and prevention efforts, the email stated administration is committed to making UVM safer for everyone. 

“We want you to know that we hear you,” the email stated. 

Erica Caloiero , interim vice provost for student affairs, said in the video she has been deeply involved in addressing student demands for action, and UVM maintains a sincere commitment to prevention, safety and support. 

“I can say unequivocally that making our campus safe for everyone is our top priority at UVM and I believe our work together as a community will be transformational,” she said. “The bottom line is – we hear you.” 

Caloiero said she wanted to emphasize the key areas of prevention, response and process. 

A new student advisory council is advising Caloiero and Dean of Students David Nestor on strengthening current prevention programs, Caloiero said. 

Additionally, students have been involved in the search process to fill the new position of Deputy Title IX Coordinator, which will focus specifically on sexual misconduct prevention and education, she said. 

The person selected will manage mandatory annual programming on bystander intervention, consent, relationship dynamics, UVM-specific support services and more. 

Sexual violence has no place in our community. When it does happen, crisis counselors and advocates are critical partners.”

— Erica Caloiero, Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs

UVM has expanded support services by partnering with the organization HOPE Works, which provides 24/7 hotline counseling services to survivors, Caloiero said. 

“We’ve formalized a task force of key UVM staff to provide case oversight for all reports of sexual misconduct including making sure that students are aware of support services and understand all next step options,” she said. 

UVM has immediately begun implementing recommendations that came of the external review of its Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, and the Office’s handling of sexual violence reports and investigations, Caloiero said. 

“That review found that students did not always fully understand or feel prepared for the investigation process, and that we can do a better job of supporting students with improved communications,” she said. “We’re committed to the use of trauma informed investigative and alternative resolution practices and providing holistic support to all involved.” 

UVM is committed to having the right systems and resources in place to prevent and address sexual misconduct, she said. 

“Many are involved in this work,” Caloiero said. “And to those who are working to support survivors and other impacted individuals and eradicate sexual violence in all its forms, thank you.” 

The University will be regularly updating its webpage on progress at https://www.uvm.edu/wehearyou. The page was last updated Nov. 17, according to the website. 

Of the 17 demands UVM students made of the administration regarding the handling of sexual violence, UVM has marked 14 demands as complete on the website. 

The remaining three demands include seeking more effective communication from the Title IX Office outside of formal reporting processes, creating an internship or volunteer program in sexual violence advocacy and for the Title IX Advisory Committee to assess current education efforts and recommend enhancements, according to the website.

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