The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

Faculty Sexual Assault Petition

Dear President Diver,

We write as members of the faculty to voice our concerns about policies and procedures for sexual assault prevention and response at Reed College. We feel these policies and procedures inadvertently harm the victims of sexual assault they are designed to help. We are also concerned about a lack of due process and confidentiality for those students who are accused of assault. We ask that, first, the College act quickly to amend these policies to minimize harm and risk by adopting the best practices of peer institutions; and second, that the College support these policies and procedures with resources that are necessary to implement reforms.

It has come to our attention recently that students who are survivors of sexual assault and their allies here at the College feel that the College policies and procures on both the prevention and response side need reform and fail to comply with legal requirements including Title IX, FERPA, and the Clery Act. Specifically, on the response side, students have expressed concerns over the existing procedure mandating involvement of J-Board. On the prevention side, students have indicated that new sexual assault protocols, mandatory training programs for the student body, and training of responders including all faculty and staff are badly needed.

We support the students in their calls for reform. There are clear precedents at peer institutions of alternative policies and procedures. Implementing these may require additional resources. These include, but are not limited to, providing resources for an advocate for victims as well as tasking a dedicated staff member to create and maintain sexual assault response protocols and prevention programs. Existing staff members are overburdened with diffuse responsibilities. While they are doing their best, additional depth is clearly required.

We understand that the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Assault is finishing up their report and recommendations this month. We urge that their recommendations be brought to the Faculty Floor as soon as possible and that any chances not requiring constitutional amendments be made with all due speed.

 

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