College Consortium: Improving Campus Title IX Prevention and Response Services to Students: Going Beyond Title IX Requirements

Feb 01st, 2024

By Alyssa Garagiola, Training and Community Engagement Policy Advocate, and Gelila Kebede, Former Program Intern

Every college or university that receives federal funding is obligated to educate students on their Title IX policies and procedures (US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 2023). The Maryland Higher Education Commission’s (MHEC) 2020-2022 report on campus climate and sexual violence at Maryland colleges and universities summarizes data on the types of reported sexual misconduct, outcomes and disciplinary actions taken by the institution, accommodations made by the institution on behalf of the students involved, student perceptions of campus safety, and institutional strategies to respond to and prevent future sexual violence on campus (Hogan et al., 2022).

Many of the community colleges and four-year schools discussed in the MHEC report shared similar prevention programming strategies that they are using to end sexual violence on campus (Hogan et al., 2022). Some of these strategies include administering bystander intervention training to students; enrolling all students in a Title IX policies, procedures, and student rights course that asks students pre- and post-test questions; providing Title IX training and orientation to faculty and staff; engaging students in drug awareness and abuse training, and annually updating electronic materials and brochures for faculty, staff, students, and survivors (Hogan et al., 2022). Each of these prevention programming strategies are important because they teach skills that raise awareness on the prevalence of sexual violence, Title IX rights and resources, and ways to reduce incidences of sexual violence on campuses. Teaching students and faculty in these ways is an important part of sexual violence prevention programming, according to the CDC’s STOP SV Technical Package (Basile et al., 2016).

Despite college and university’s efforts to implement sexual violence prevention and awareness-raising programs on campus, sexual violence incidents on and around campuses remains pervasive (Perkins & Warner, 2017). According to the MHEC report on campus climate and sexual violence, Maryland’s higher education institutions reported a total of 2,528 incidents of sexual assault or other sexual misconduct across Maryland during the 2020-2022 campus climate reporting cycle (Hogan et al., 2022). Moreover, studies show that first-year students, transfer students, and international students are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence victimization due to their unfamiliarity with cultural and social norms regarding sexual violence on college campuses (APA, 2023, as cited in Forbes-Mewett et al., 2015), as well as their unfamiliarity with Title IX-related university policies and procedures (APA, 2023, as cited in Hutcheson & Lewington, 2017).

It is also no secret that alcohol is a part of college and university campus culture (Appleby, 2023) as it is often used as a means of socializing among peers (Bosari et al., 2007, as cited in Harford, Wechsler, & Seibring, 2002). Research shows that 30-75% of perpetrators of sexual assault are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault (Abbey, 2008). Alcohol and other drugs can also be used as a tool to perpetrate sexual violence. Although alcohol use is not a cause of sexual violence, it is a contributing factor that should be considered when creating prevention and education content.

To address the compounding factors, societal influences, and cultural norms that contribute to incredibly high rates of campus sexual violence, it is important for campuses to go beyond mandated Title IX programming. Instead, campuses must consider how they can build healthy, safe, and supportive campus environments where sexual violence is no longer tolerated.

The CDC’s STOP SV Technical Package recommends providing education and awareness in conjunction with creating and promoting protective environments for students and faculty on and around school campuses (Basile et al., 2016). When thinking about creating and promoting protective campus environments, it is important to reflect on campus environments in three ways: from the physical environment perspective, social environment perspective, and situational context of these two environments (MCASA & JHU, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2022).

  • The physical environment includes both natural and manufactured physical objects in a geographical space, such as trees, fields, paved roadways, street lamps, or the number of chairs in a room
  • The social environment consists of the social norms that dictate how people can or should act in a certain space
    • These social norms are communicated through explicit and implicit means, depending on the context of the situation
  • The situational context includes a variety of dynamic factors that influence the physical and social environments
    • These dynamic factors include time, social setting, natural events (rain, sunshine, earthquake), personal goals, and any other factors that can influence social interactions

One way to create and maintain a protective environment on campus is by engaging students in dialogue about alcohol-use and student perceptions of safety on and off campus. This type of engagement can impact the social environment through discussions around acceptable versus unacceptable social norms related to alcohol-use, consent, and safety. Additionally, campuses can create or expand their partnerships with their local rape crisis center and community health and wellness departments to educate students about the importance of developing and maintaining healthy and safe drinking environments. Local rape crisis centers can provide training to inform students about the the importance of consent and healthy friendships, and how creating and maintaining communication about positive peer norms, problem-solving skills, and acceptable behaviors – all of which are protective factors against sexual assault (CDC, NCIPC, Division of Violence Prevention, 2022). Moreover, campuses can reference MCASA and Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Environmental & Situational Strategies for Sexual Violence Prevention (ESP) Guide, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Community Equity (SPACE) Toolkit, and a report called Enhancing Campus Sexual Assault Prevention EffortsThrough Situational Interventions to gain strategic ideas on how to promote and enhance safety regarding campus physical environments.

Overall, by administering prevention education and awareness-raising programs, as well as strategies to create and promote protective environments on and around college and university campuses, schools will be improving their Title IX prevention and response services for students – going beyond the requirements of Title IX.

*The Department of Education has announced that the finalized Title IX regulations are now scheduled to be released in May 2024. MCASA will provide additional guidance and support to colleges and universities as they work to incorporate the updates into their Title IX procedures.*


American Psychological Association (APA). (2023). Campus sexual assault,Scholl%20et%20al%2C%202019).

Abbey, A. (2008, December). Alcohol and Sexual Violence Perpetration. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Retrieved from:

Appleby, C. (February 23, 2023). Alcohol use in college:facts and statistics. Best colleges.

Basile, K. C., DeGue, S., Jones, K., Freire, K., Dills, J., Smith, S. G., Raiford, J. L. (2016). STOP SV: A technical package to prevent sexual violence. Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bosari, B., Murphy, J. G., Barnett, N. P. (2007). Predictors of alcohol use during the first year of college: Implications for prevention. Addictive Behaviors, 32(10), 2062-2086. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2007.01.017

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Division of Violence Prevention. (2022, January 18). Violence prevention: The Socio-Ecological Model: A framework for prevention.

Hirsch, J. S., Khan, S., Leichter, K., & Zeitz-Moskin, A. (2021). Sexual assault prevention and community equity (SPACE) toolkit. Sexual Citizens. 

Hogan, L. J. Jr., Rutherford, B. K., & Fielder, J. D. (2022, September). Report on campus climate and sexual violence at Maryland colleges and universities: MSAR #11669. Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). 

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) & John Hopkins University (JHU), Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2022, August). Environmental and situational strategies for sexual violence prevention: A practiioners’ guide to leveraging evidence for impact on college campuses.

Meredith, T., Gilligan, L., Baldwin, K., Przewoznik, J., Rider-Milkovich, H., Lee, D. S., Bossong, M., & Sniffen, C. (2020, February). Enhancing campus sexual assault prevention efforts through situational interventions.

Perkins, W. & Warner, J. (2017). Sexual violence response and prevention: Studies of campus policies and practices. Journal of School Violence, 16(3), 237-242. DOI: 10.1080/15388220.2017.1318569

US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. (2023, September 14). Title IX legal manual.

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