Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

UH improving in some categories related to violence against women on campuses

Stats show declines at UH in stalking and domestic violence cases but also a rise in sexual-harassment complaints
Summer Steinsrud
Statistics showed the downward trend in sexual harassment and other unwanted aggressive behaviors.

University of Hawai’i is focusing on the improvements it has made in the past few years related to sexual harassment and gender violence across the 10 UH campuses, while also acknowledging the work still to be done.

A comparison study at UH campuses based on campus climate surveys, with reference points from other universities across the country, was unveiled in a webinar Wednesday as part of the 2024 Commission on the Status of Women Conference. That webinar included various speakers and researchers on this topic who had analyzed the UH statistics from 2017 through 2023 and had come to this webinar to publicly report their findings.

“Across the 10 campuses students are more aware of Title IX coordinators when they need their help, and overall, just in general,” said host Patricia Loui, CEO of OmniTrak Group, a Honolulu-based strategic-research firm. “There’s also more student confidence in the reporting processes. So these are major, both prevalence as well as attitudinal changes that are taking place.”

UH has invested in training for students that’s focused on gender-based violence awareness as well as available on-campus resources, which the conference organizers attributed to attitudinal changes about the usefulness of such training on campus, rising from 51 percent of respondents considering it useful in 2017 to 58 percent in 2023, and awareness about campus resources, increasing from 78 percent in 2017 to 83 percent in 2023.

“These surveys collect much information from all students of their perceptions of responses as well as students’ bystander behaviors,” said presenter Bonnie Fisher, a professor and director of the distance learning master’s degree program at University of Cincinnati. “They collect experiences of gender bias and sexual harassment. All this information is relevant because it helps campus administrations to verify which resources are needed from the school and how students can be engaged in prevention and innovation efforts.”

The overall incidence of gender-based violence and domestic violence at UH over this time period has edged down overall by 1%, and stalking by 0.5%.

“We saw some great changes from 2017 to 2023; that the students were more likely to report an incident of sexual harassment or gender based violence,” said presenter Sandra Martin, associate dean of research at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Students “felt that campus officials would treat them sensitively and respectfully, protect their privacy, protect their safety, and be able to help them address the problem with various options. That they would be fair when they conduct the investigation and take action against the offender. So all of those are really good things that point to the students having faith in the process.”

But, on the flip side, non-consensual sexual contact showed no change since 2017, and sexual harassment on UH campuses actually increased by more than 2%.

“As we look at the attitudes and prevalence over the past six years, we can see where UH is improving,” Loui said. “And where we need to continue to be diligent to improve.”

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About the Contributor
Summer Steinsrud
Summer Steinsrud, Contributor
My name is Summer Steinsrud and I am a senior at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa majoring in Journalism. My interests in Journalism are centered mainly around sports and broadcast media. I am 22, originally from Oslo, Norway and have been living in Hawai'i for the past couple of years after transferring from the University of Nevada, Reno. I have previously worked as the Assistant News Editor for the Nevada Sagebrush and worked alongside Wolf Pack Athletics capturing content for MBB. During my time here in Hawai'i I hope to give back to the community by sharing the beauty that exists in the local culture and people through journalistic storytelling.

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