Comprehensive Reviews, Actions And Next Steps On Sexual Assault Policies
Dear Aggie Community,
I would like to provide you with an update regarding review plans recently announced that seek ways to improve how the university addresses sexual assault investigations. Since the last update, below are some of the efforts underway now and in the near future:
- Dr. Robin Means-Coleman is, as reported earlier, leading the internal review. She has begun the following initiatives, to which she and those involved will add additional actions throughout the review:
- Assemble the internal review committee. The committee is comprised of a team of experts, to include: students including sexual assault survivors; faculty whose scholarship focuses on sexual assault; staff including student assistance services; a representative from the community Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC); and others;
- Analyze related university rules and Standard Administrative Procedures (SAPs);
- Examine Student Affairs Title IX processes, from intake to post-process;
- Identify ways to improve communications with students regarding available resources, advocates, and advisors; and
- Understand staffing allocations and needs.
- EVP and Provost Dr. Carol Fierke is, as reported, the lead liaison to the third-party review firm, Husch Blackwell (HB). HB will be on campus beginning this month to interview students, faculty, staff, community advocates and others. HB was selected because of their expertise and deep level of scrutiny as it pertains to assessments of policies and, importantly, challenges in implementing those policies. Primary interview input, process analysis, training review and benchmarking to other universities will be some of their work. We will make available to HB the information and resources that they require. Significantly, as is essential to any meaningful results in a third-party review, we will also stay out of their way so that they may do their work independently and unfettered.
- During the course of these reviews, as opportunities for improvement are identified, we will take action. We will not wait until conclusion of reviews to implement what we are able to improve as we move along.
- Since my last message, an Aggie-led sexual assault survivors group agreed to meet with our leadership team last week. The Chancellor, Provost and I along with other campus leaders listened carefully as individuals bravely shared their experiences. We are deeply grateful for their input. We will not comment on any individual case or publicly share details of that private discussion, but I want to sincerely thank them for their testimonies and willingness to share with us directly. I reiterate our commitment to addressing concerns brought forth.
We are committed to keeping our Aggie community informed as these important reviews and resulting actions progress. It is important to remind you of the standing invitation for all Aggies to send suggestions to email@example.com, which we are reading.
I want to thank you again for your input, caring and support as leaders inside and outside of the university advance this important work.
Michael K. Young