Thursday, May 09, 2013

What's happening with sexual assault complaints

At Occidental College in California, administrators are moving quickly to remedy the campus climate that inspired students to openly protest the way the college handles sexual assault cases. The president announced that a search was on for a Title IX coordinator ( a position that should already exist, by the way). The school will also be implementing recommendations from two experts the college hired in the wake of the complaints. Over 100 members of the faculty issued an open letter vowing to work to change the campus climate.

On the other side of the country, Dartmouth College continues to deal with the repercussions of the very visible protest a group of current students held during prospective students weekend. The college cancelled  classes for a day the week following the protest in order to address some of the issues raised. Programming, including speeches and open forums, was held ago for a day in order to hold forums and workshops about the issues protesters raised. But the effectiveness of this somewhat last-minute move has been questioned. Additionally, the initial protesters and others unrelated to the protest at all are receiving threats--some of which are based on sexual orientation and race--in various online forums. In short, the issue of respectful dialogue remains.

Directly south of Hanover in Amherst, students continue to press the administration at Amherst College to institute--and be transparent about--sexual assault policies. In late April, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, students held an on-campus protest objecting to the leniency the college has historically engaged in when it dealt with perpetrators of sexual assault and their lack of input into new policies. Though the Title IX committee has two spots for student representatives, only one is currently filled. Students are also upset that a draft of the new policies has not been released.