The USenate Twitter account just released a statement from the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) on the Sexual Assault Adjudication Process. In short, the SAC has called for:
- President Bollinger to release a statement regarding the university’s policy on sexual assault and misconduct,
- a town hall to act as a forum for students and faculty to speak publicly on the issue,
- full transparency from the university regarding data related to sexual assaults and other associated violations, and
- making the President’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault (PACSA) more inclusive of the student body and more transparent.
For more information about sexual assault at Columbia, see former Blue and White managing editor Anna Bahr’s (BC ’14) piece. Statement below.
Update (10:05 pm)–The SAC sent out the statement via email to Columbia College students. Matthew Chou, a co-chair of the SAC, added:
We understand this is an incredibly important issue for students, and we are dedicated to reaching solutions in partnership with the entire Columbia community. Through the Senate, we will also continue to actively pursue the implementation of the statement’s recommendations. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Akshay Shah, also co-chair of the SAC, noted, “We feel that this is an issue that is appropriate for the University Senate to take on as it deals with a university office following a process that the university has put in place to comply with Title IX.” We’ve reached out to administration for comment and will update accordingly.
Update (1/27, 4:15 pm)–Robert Hornsby, the Associate Vice President of Media Relations, sent us this statement in response to the letter:
Sexual assault and gender-based misconduct are always unacceptable and often criminal. The safety and well-being of every student and each member of the Columbia community is our foremost priority, and we recognize that confidence in the handling of allegations of gender-based misconduct and sexual assault is an essential part of ensuring that safety. Over the last few months, Columbia has been reviewing its policies and procedures for the reporting, investigation, and provision of discipline in these matters. As part of this process, the University’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault has been speaking with the Columbia University Student Democrats and other student leaders whose requests for the disclosure of aggregate data are under consideration. A new website urging sexual respect in our university community was launched last week.
In the days ahead, we look forward to sharing additional steps intended to sustain our campus dialogue and to ensure that students’ voices inform the ongoing development of the university’s gender-based misconduct policies. We therefore welcome the broad conversation occurring on campus involving Columbia’s leadership, the University Senate, Columbia University Student Democrats and a large cross-section of concerned students in the expectation that it will increase awareness and identify opportunities to improve current practices.