Q&A with Co-Chairs of Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence


Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz and Joanna MasingilaJoanna Masingila, dean of the School of Education, and Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, interim senior associate vice president and dean of the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, are the co-chairs of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence. Below, they talk about the mission and goals of the task force and its work on the Syracuse University campus.


01. What is the work of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence?

The Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence brings together areas from across the community to address and discuss sexual and relationship violence prevention, education and advocacy services. Our work includes reviewing University policies, practices, programs and procedures; exploring promising practices and resources related to sexual and relationship violence; identifying best practices to communicate with the campus community; and supporting efforts to prevent and raise awareness about sexual and relationship violence.

02. Who comprises the task force?

The task force is composed of dedicated students, faculty and staff representing multiple areas of our campus community, as well as the executive director of Vera House.

03. Why is this work so important on our campus?

Our work to address sexual and relationship violence is important to fostering a campus community in which all members feel safe and supported. By bringing this group of individuals with vast experience, perspective and experience together to look at the ways in which we respond to and address sexual and relationship violence, we are able to support the University’s continued efforts to combat sexual and relationship violence.

04. What are the Task Force’s current initiatives and priorities?

This semester, the task force has focused efforts around Title IX compliance, including hosting a session with Debbie Osgood, former national enforcement director for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The task force is also focusing on ways to better engage students. Our student representatives on the task force presented great ideas during our last meeting, and we look forward to continuing to discuss ways to collaborate.

Given the multitude of events and programs happening this semester, the task force is lending its support to initiatives like the Vera House White Ribbon Campaign, Take Back the Night, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and “It’s On Us” Week of Action.

05. What do you hope to accomplish?

The task force hopes to enhance and strengthen the ways in which Syracuse University addresses and responds to sexual and relationship violence.

06. How, as a group, are you affecting change in the Syracuse University community?

In concert with the work of our student peer educators, student organizations and volunteers, and the many offices and individuals committed to this issue, we are all raising awareness about sexual and relationship violence and fostering an environment free from all forms of violence.