Frequently Asked Questions: Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative

Sexual respect is the commitment to communicating and acting in interpersonal relationships with integrity and respect for others, and to each of us doing what we can to create an environment where sexual and gender-based misconduct are not tolerated.

In addition, it is an initiative to promote a campus culture that upholds sexual respect and unequivocally rejects sexual harassment, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based misconduct or violence.

The Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative provides every student with a focused invitation during the academic year to learn about issues that can profoundly shape academic and student life, and to impact campus climate. Read the goals of the Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship here.


Initiative Goals

Students, faculty and administrators at Columbia — including many experts in public health, gender and sexuality studies, sociology and social work — developed the Sexual Respect Initiative in collaboration with leadership from the Office of University Life. When you participate in the Initiative, you will:

  • Increase your knowledge of key concepts related to sexual respect, such as healthy and problematic behaviors and bystander intervention.
  • Increase awareness of University resources and community values.
  • Provide opportunities to dispel myths about sexual violence.
  • Learn more about the link between gender stereotypes, harassment and violence.
  • Foster awareness about sexual violence within our community and broader society.

The pre-orientation tutorials provide an introduction to policies, values and resources at the University and to the five steps of bystander intervention (Step Up!). The Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative invites students to join in conversation with classmates to examine the link between sexual respect and membership in the University community. You can choose the option and the topic that appeals to you most, or design your own Independent Project. 

All Columbia students are strongly encouraged to participate. All students who are new to any degree program at Columbia are required to complete at least one of several options available. The participation deadline will be in early November 2021. Student leaders and athletes who completed the Sexual Respect for Student-Athletes and Student Leaders training this fall have met their requirement — you do not also need to complete the Initiative. If you have any questions, write to the Sexual Respect team at [email protected]

Read how to participate here. You can participate in as many workshops, online video collections, online documentaries with Q&A, and independent projects as you’d like. There is also an online tutorial especially for graduate students, and resources for healing and resilience (offered especially for survivors as recommended by our partners at Sexual Violence Response).

Confirm your participation by checking in at the workshop or film screening you selected, or through Courseworks. Please see details here.

You are encouraged to participate at any point during your enrollment in the University, even if the requirement has already been met. Please proceed to the option of your choice and see instructions for how to share your feedback there.

If you have personal concerns about completing the Initiative, please contact us at [email protected]. While we do not have an opt-out, we can see how best to satisfy this requirement. You do not need to explain and will not be asked for details about your experience.

Disability Services can provide accommodations for registered students to attend workshops and the other participation options. If you require disability accommodations, please contact Disability Services at [email protected] in advance of the event. Please allow at least five days to arrange for sign language interpreters or CART services.

Join the Sexual Respect Student Ambassadors team! Student Ambassadors will host events, help to elevate sexual respect as a value and promote the initiative through social media. Apply here.

Students, faculty and administrators at Columbia — including many experts in public health, gender and sexuality studies, sociology, and social work — developed the Initiative with leadership from the Office of University Life. The Office of University Life reviews student feedback and evaluations from the Initiative each year to refine content offerings and improve the Initiative.

Yes — however, as Barnard offers its own programming, Columbia students will have priority for workshop registration.

Write to [email protected] with questions about the Initiative, technical issues or problems with CourseWorks.  

The other half of the Community Citizenship Initiative is the Inclusion and Belonging Initiative