President Jonathan Veitch's Letter to Occidental College 5-1-2013
Danielle Dirks <email@example.com>[Oxy-faculty-l] May 1 Sexual Assault UpdatePresident Veitch <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wed, May 1, 2013 at 12:37 PMTo: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, oxy-admin-l <firstname.lastname@example.org>To the Occidental Community:In an effort to address the serious concerns raised about sexual assault at Occidental, the Collegecommissioned Gina Smith and Leslie Gomez, two of the nations leading experts on issues of sexual misconducton college campuses, to conduct an independent review of Oxy’s policies and procedures. As promised, I amsharing Gina and Leslie’s May 1 Interim Recommendations letter in its entirety. The attached letter details theirwork thus far, makes some initial recommendations, and lays out a goal for the delivery of their final report inAugust.Work on this issue is too important to delay, and with Commencement less than three weeks away it is vital notto lose our momentum. We will continue to press on with our work through the summer months. In the interim,based on input from individual faculty, staff and students, the work done to date by the Oxy Sexual AssaultCoalition (OSAC) and the Sexual Assault Task Force, and Gina and Leslie’s preliminary recommendations, theCollege is committed to taking the following specific, concrete actions immediately. We hope these initial stepswill serve as the basis for a shared agenda in the weeks and months ahead.Actions Already TakenEarlier this month, we launched a newly revised Sexual Assault Resources & Support website. We inviteyour feedback as we continue our work to make it more helpful and user-friendly.We hired an on-campus advocate to bolster support for sexual-assault survivors. Naddia Palacios(email@example.com), who many of you remember as our well-regarded associate director of interculturalaffairs from 2007-2010, returned to campus on April 22 to begin work at Emmons Health Center. As we move forward with policy revision, we will ensure that we inform our campus of all changes. Iexpect our new policy to incorporate the changes we have already put in place regarding limitations on thescope of appeal and protocols for issuing email alerts to notify the community when a sexual assault hasbeen reported. Immediate ActionsWe have authorized the addition of a Title IX Coordinator as a full-time, professional position reportingdirectly to the President, effective immediately. Dean Avery, Senior Associate Dean O’Neal Howard and Iall agree that a separate, independent position -- as is found on other campuses -- will provide the kind ofoversight required. A national search begins immediately, with the goal of having a new person in placethis fall. In the meantime, we will move quickly to name an interim coordinator who will lead the College’sefforts over the summer months.We created an anonymous suggestion box to solicit comments about sexual-assault issues from anyonein the campus community. Comments from the suggestion box will go directly to Gina and Leslie and willinform their review. We will continue to use the anonymous suggestion box as a platform for commentsand feedback after the work of our consultants is completed.In light of recent concerns about the role played by legal counsel, Carl Botterud has voluntarily recusedhimself from providing advice or guidance on any matters related to sexual harassment or misconductcases. I agree that this decision is in the best interest of the College at this time. The College will relyupon a local attorney who will serve as interim outside counsel with respect to these matters.
May-JuneWe will create a structured sexual-assault program at Orientation that reflects our revised policies andprocedures. We will incorporate the work of the Sexual Assault Task Force and solicit the activeparticipation of our advocate, Naddia, OSAC, Occidental Men Against Rape (OMAR), Project SAFE andother groups.We will begin the evaluation of platforms for a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week sexual-assault hotline and animplementation plan to have it in place this fall.I will join members of senior leadership in Peace Over Violence training to improve our understanding ofsexual-assault issues. July-AugustWe will complete a comprehensive revision of sexual-misconduct policies and procedures. This revision,which is already underway, will incorporate OSAC’s 12 Demands, the excellent research contained in its80-point matrix, as well as the work of Gina and Leslie. The goal is to have a new policy in place by thebeginning of the fall semester. The campus community will then have the opportunity to offer feedbackand suggestions. September-OctoberA standing committee of faculty, staff and students will start this fall to regularly review sexual-misconduct policy. Faculty Council has already agreed to select faculty members to serve on the newcommittee.We will create a comprehensive educational program that begins at Orientation and continues throughouteach student’s entire experience at Oxy. Developing such a program will be one of the principalresponsibilities of the new Title IX Coordinator in consultation with the new standing committee on sexualassault.We will recommit ourselves to a regular and consistent training program for everyone involved in thecampus response to sexual assault – faculty, students, and staff – to be led this fall by the new Title IXCoordinator.Effective this fall, Project SAFE will have four programming assistants, double the current number.I am convinced that we will look back on 2013 as the year in which there was a significant shift in the culture ofcolleges and universities across the country. Community members are challenging a culture of complacencytoward sexual assault. Difficult as it has been, I am grateful to OSAC and other committed community members,including students, staff and faculty, for challenging Occidental to do better -- and we will do better.As Oxy’s president I am the person ultimately responsible for the safety of all of our students. I take theconcerns that have been raised by our community very seriously, and I am committed to dedicating thenecessary time and resources to make Oxy a leader on this issue. We have a profound obligation to live up toour institutional values in all aspects of campus life, and ensure that Oxy is a place where everyone feels safeand valued.Sincerely,Jonathan _______________________________________________Oxy-faculty-l mailing listOxyfirstname.lastname@example.org
http://panther.cc.oxy.edu/mailman/listinfo/oxy-faculty-lOccidental College Interim Recommendations.pdf372K