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Gender, Race, and Sexual Violence: A Mixed Methods Case Study Analysis of Sexual Misconduct Policies at an Elite University

Cason, Theoria M. (2019) Gender, Race, and Sexual Violence: A Mixed Methods Case Study Analysis of Sexual Misconduct Policies at an Elite University. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This mixed methods case study investigated knowledge about sexual misconduct among undergraduate Black and Latina women on an Ivy League university campus. The study also examined Black and Latina women’s experiences with sexual misconduct and the barriers that prevent them from reporting instances of sexual misconduct. Finally, this study reviewed university changes in education, training, and reporting protocols for addressing sexual misconduct between 2008-2018. Current undergraduate students and alumnae who completed their undergraduate degree between 2008-2018 were invited to participate. The convergent methodological design allowed the researcher to collect statistical data alongside personal narratives to develop a richer understanding of the inquiry. Data from 10 semi-structured interviews provided insights into the experiences of 6 current undergraduate students and 4 alumnae. Quantitative data from 54 anonymous survey participants (31 current students and 23 alumnae) provided complementary information. A non-exhaustive list of 57 university policies and initiatives were reviewed. Black and Latina women’s reported experiences were evaluated within the context of 31 university educational and response procedures that complied with the evolution of six federal and state regulations that changed between 2008-2018. Key findings revealed students’ barriers to reporting stem from several interrelated factors. First, personal experience with oppressive societal structures, particularly based on race and gender, leads Black and Latina students to have a general mistrust of institutional processes and to presume unfair treatment by authorities. Additionally, community barriers rooted in peer group social status and power dynamics influence the development of a collective narrative that generally inhibits reporting experiences of sexual misconduct. Two key recommendations. First, students within Black and Latinx communities must decide how they will embody the community characteristics they claim to value, and determine what, if any, changes need to be made to hold those who violate the community standards accountable for their actions. Second, the university should diversify the ethnicities of the employees who conduct sexual violence prevention trainings and education, and develop culturally competent programming.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cason, Theoria M.tmc80@pitt.edutmc80
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairThompson Dorsey, Dana N.dtdorsey@pitt.edudtdorsey
DeAngelo, Lindadeangelo@pitt.edudeangelo
Date: 25 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 August 2019
Approval Date: 25 September 2019
Submission Date: 6 September 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 223
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender Higher education Race Reporting Sexual violence Title IX
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 14:32
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 19:27


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