LAWRENCE — Today marked the final meeting of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault as committee members completed their work and presented their recommendations to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter.
“On behalf of the entire KU community, I want to thank the task force for its efforts during the past eight months,” Chancellor Gray-Little said. “The task force has created a document that will inform our continuing work to address the issue of sexual assault and sexual violence at the university. These recommendations will help us in our ongoing efforts to implement best practices to prevent and respond to sexual assault and make campus safe for every student.
“In the coming weeks, the university will examine these recommendations to determine how we can integrate them into our ongoing work on this issue. I want to recognize the task force members for their work and dedication to identifying issues the university needs to address. We said from the outset that our desire was to position KU as a leader in how higher education addresses this national problem, and the task force’s efforts will help make that aspiration a reality. To the task force members — thank you for your passion and commitment. You should be proud of the contributions you’ve made to the KU community.”
The task force’s report is divided into four sections: policy and process improvement; prevention practices; support and advocacy for student victims of crime; and evaluation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The document includes research, case studies, examinations of peer universities and specific recommendations. The full report is available here.
Chancellor Gray-Little created the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault in September 2014 to examine how the university prevents and responds to sexual assaults. The task force was charged with reviewing current policies, practices and sanctions, and was asked to provide recommendations for improvement. The task force convened 13 times between September and today’s final meeting with the Chancellor and Provost.
In addition to creating the task force, the university has taken several steps in recent months to address the national issue of sexual assault and sexual violence:
- The chancellor and provost hosted a forum on sexual assault that was attended by nearly 200 students, staff, faculty and community partners.
- The chancellor approved immediate changes in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities that clarify the university’s authority to enforce Title IX.
- A Campus Assistance, Resources, Education & Engagement (CARE) coordinator position was created and moved into Watkins Health Services to be more accessible to students needing resources.
- The university’s Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access (IOA) obtained a $43,000 grant from the state of Kansas through the Victims of Crimes Act program, which will allow IOA to hire a staff member dedicated to helping people through the investigative process. IOA also hired two new investigators.
- The university entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city of Lawrence that strengthens the communication between the university and city law enforcement for incidences of sexual assault and sexual violence. The university and city are national leaders in this effort.
- The Title IX Roundtable — a group of students, faculty, staff, and community members established in Fall 2012 — has continued meeting regularly to review and make recommendations regarding prevention programming and outreach.
- The university administered the 2015 Sexual Harassment Climate Survey, the third such survey since 2012. The survey results will help guide the university’s next steps in addressing this issue.