Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Jay Brand

Second Advisor

Gustavo Gregorutti

Third Advisor

Frances Faehner

Abstract

Problem

Sexual misconduct is a public health and safety issue affecting most if not all higher education institutions in the United States. Over the past fifteen years, student on student sexual misconduct cases occurring on American college and university campuses have caught the attention of the federal government and put the American public on high alert. As a response to public outcry, Congress enacted several laws that imposed requirements on institutions regarding how they address sexual misconduct cases to how and when they publish crime statistics. Although many research studies have looked into the issues surrounding sexual misconduct cases on college and university campuses, little research has been conducted to explore institutional compliance across institutional type and understand the challenges that college officials tasked with implementation and administration of such sexual misconduct policies face in their work.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this qualitative study was to conduct a multi-case study of two residential Midwestern higher education institutions to 1) understand how compliant the two institutions’ sexual assault policies and procedures are with federal mandates, 2) discover how each institution compares with one another in terms of compliance, 3) identify the challenges that campus officials from the two Midwestern institutions face in the implementation and administration of required federal mandates, and 4) explore how the campus officials are meeting their identified challenges.

Method

The research was conducted at one four-year private university and one two-year community college in the Midwest. To answer Research Questions 1 and 2, a policy analysis of each institution’s policies and procedures was conducted using a rubric adapted from federal guidelines. To answer Research Questions 3 and 4, six semi-structured face to face interviews were conducted with two to four key administrators from each institution.

Findings

Institutions are not in full compliance with federal guidelines. The lack of compliance found was not willful but rather a result of overwhelming legislation that institutions struggle to follow because of the complexities of internal and external factors. College officials share similar challenges and have increased their reliance on internal and external partnerships to meet those challenges.

Subject Area

Sex crimes--Research; Universities and colleges--Middle West;

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