1.1 million international students attended classes in the United States in the 2017-18 school year – making up around 5% of the total higher education student population.
Students travel from all over to attend classes, but China, India, and South Korea produce the highest number of international students on American campuses.
Is your campus prepared to educate multicultural students about their sexual assault and violence protection rights within the United States, and ensure you’re compliant with Title IX?
Sexual Risk Factors for International Students
Research is difficult to find regarding the relationship between sexual violence and international students – a research study in 2017 blamed this disconnect on the complexity of the research process compared to their counterparts.
Most experts agree though that international students are a group at risk when it comes to sexual assault on campus for the following reasons:
- Vulnerability due to inexperience with culture.
- Prejudice and discrimination.
- Retaliation via revoking of immigration status.
- Pressures of performing well academically.
Another important issue related to international students that must be addressed is how to overcome language and cultural barriers when it comes to sexual violence training on campus and corresponding legislation, such as Title IX, the Clery Act, and the SaVE act.
Administrators need to not only explain what this legislation means, and the rights students are guaranteed, but how it relates to U.S. culture and how international students can get support if needed.
Five Areas to Consider for International Students
When discussing efforts to make sure your campus is compliant with Title IX, the following are areas to consider:
- How are we making Title IX training and resources, such as reporting systems, accessible for international students on campus?
- Are we encouraging international students to speak up about sexual violence and assuring them that they won’t get in trouble or that their visa isn’t at risk for reporting sexual violence?
- Are we providing international students with a support network for issues surrounding sexual violence? Is this support network customized to meet the challenges they face on American campuses?
- Are we customizing training for international students that makes us compliant with Title IX, Clery Act, and Campus SaVe legislation?
- Do we offer multilingual support for training? Do we explain why this legislation is important in regard to U.S. culture?
It’s important to remember that foreign-born students have the same protections as American-born students under Title IX. In fact, the Office of Civil Rights addresses this directly in their guidance on “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” in 2014.
Any retaliation against foreign-born students for reporting sexual violence, such as a threat regarding their immigration status, is in direct violation of Title IX.
How SafeColleges Can Help
The SafeColleges Training System offers a Title IX Essentials for International Students course. This course includes important information about the culture in the United States and the laws concerning interpersonal relationships and violence. United States law requires that all students receive education and resources on these topics. This module has been created specifically for international students visiting the United States and will help them understand key terms and concepts.