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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

TItle IX Update

August 11, 2016

Dear Spelman Community,

Last year, as you may recall, the academic year ended with the administration hard at work on reviewing Spelman College’s policies and practices as they relate to Title IX and expanding the staff in our newly established Title IX and Compliance Office. Enhancing our existing Title IX education, training and infrastructure is an ongoing priority for the College, and as you’ll see from the below, we are working to ensure our program is among the best in the country. As we start the new academic year, I write specifically to bring you up to date on our progress.


1. A new dean of students, Dr. Fran'cee Brown-McClure, was hired earlier this year and started at Spelman on May 12, 2016. Dr. Brown-McClure has already made an immediate impact on our programming and looks forward to getting to know our students this year. She has 11 years of experience working on Title IX-related issues, specifically as it relates to supporting survivors and developing effective training programs. Joining Spelman from Stanford University, where she most recently served as associate dean of residential education, Dr. Brown McClure is committed to ensuring our students thrive in a safe and welcoming environment. Dr. Terri Reed, Spelman’s secretary of the College, continues to serve as the interim Title IX director while we search for a permanent director. As you know, it is critical that we find someone who not only has the right experience, but will also be a good fit for Spelman and I appreciate your patience while we continue the search.

Policies and Practices

2. The College has completed an in-depth, comprehensive review of Spelman's policies, practices and training materials related to all reports of sexual violence. The revised policy will be available online during new student orientation. The most significant change relates to reporting protocols for sexual violence; students are now encouraged to report incidences of sexual violence to the Office of the Dean of Students, as opposed to the Office of Public Safety, to better facilitate access to the wide array of support services they may want or need. This shift enhances our survivor-centered response, ensuring students receive immediate and comprehensive support. This support will include discussing all of their options with them, including counseling or medical treatment and filing a complaint with the appropriate campus administrative body or local law enforcement.

Faculty, Staff and Student Engagement

3. A faculty advisory committee and a student commission on sexual violence were established last semester to provide input on a range of issues. The faculty advisory committee has begun work to identify an instrument to survey the campus, as well as other evidence-based interventions. A climate survey will provide systematic feedback from students on those specific areas that require the College’s attention.

4. The student commission has met several times and has made a significant contribution to the development of a 2016-2017 calendar of activities and communications campaign around issues of safety, prevention, training and victims' services.

5. Dr. Brown-McClure is leading our efforts to identify and equip a select group of staff to serve as sexual assault crisis team members.

Other Activities

6. Spelman is enhancing its use of technological and digital and social media tools. Social media plays an important role in today’s world in raising awareness and sharing vital information essential for prevention and response, and as such, we want to make it a vehicle to communicate with students. A new tool for online reporting for sexual violence is being developed and will be available for use mid-September. We are also moving to an online data tracking system; the information gathered will help us identify patterns and improve the quality of our prevention and response activities.

7. We have been conducting joint fact-finding interviews and advising and supporting reporting students, so that they are comfortable moving forward with the investigation process.

8. AUC presidents have committed to identifying a joint initiative that will develop a community response to sexual violence on campus.

As I’ve said many times before, my first priority as Spelman’s president is to continue ensuring that Spelman and the Atlanta University Center offer a safe, supportive environment for all students. Sexual violence of any kind is destructive to our students, our academic environment and our sense of social justice. Our goal at Spelman is to be a model for Title IX leadership. This effort will require the commitment and dedication of our entire campus and the AUC community.

As always, if you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, or has information about a sexual assault, we are here for you. We will fully investigate all reports and will provide the appropriate support and services.

  • Support: Spelman Sexual Assault Hotline 678-873-5884
  • Reporting: Spelman Dean of Students Office 404-270-5133, Spelman Title IX
    Office 404-270-5005
  • Confidential Reporting and Support Services: Counseling Services 404-270-5293, Student Health Services 404-270-5249, Women’s Health Clinic 404-270-5247-

Please feel free to reach out to me and/or Dr. Reed with any questions or concerns you
may have.

Mary Schmidt Campbell

Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane, SW
Atlanta, GA 30314-4399