Editorial: Presidential task force making progress on addressing sexual assaults
Published: Monday, February 17, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2014 22:02
Earlier this month, Susan Herbst announced the findings of her Task Force on Civility and Campus Culture and the recommendations she would be implementing. UConn will be taking a number of steps to improve campus culture as a whole and combat sexual violence.
The new steps to address sexual assault include a bystander training program for all students, increased drug and alcohol education, more sexul violence and relationship programs and, most importantly, the creation of a single office to deal with claims of sexual assault.
The office will serve as a “central point of contact” for students who are victims of crimes on campus and help them navigate the complicated framework for dealing with these crimes. There will also be staff members who are specifically charged with dealing with cases of sexual assault.
This new office is a good step forward for the university in addressing sexual assault. A more simple and sensible system for dealing with these issues was sorely needed. One of the main complaints of victims in the Title IX case made public this fall was the confusing, inadequate system for addressing sexual assault. Students were unsure where to go or were bounced back and forth between departments with minimal communication.
The new office should help minimize these issues and put the focus on students who need help. Victims will have a specific office on campus to turn to instead of trying to get a number of departments with other duties to address their claims.
The new office sends a message that UConn understands that campus sexual assault is a real problem and is serious about addressing it. Now, the university needs to make sure the office is up and running soon and that it functions well. They run the risk of adding another layer of bureaucracy to an already complicated system if the office doesn’t do its job. Likewise, the other new programs should be implemented in a timely manor.
UConn is taking real action to address the issue of sexual violence on campus. Hopefully, the new programs will help prevent sexual assault and the new office will make it easier for victims of sexual assault to come forward and have their claims addressed.