BYU assembles committee, asks for feedback on how to handle sexual assault reporting

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BYU President Kevin J Worthen, right, talks to BYU Spokesperson Carri Jenkins in a video addressing BYU's Honor Code Office and the Title lV. BYU has assembled a committee to find a safer way for students to report sexual assaults.

BYU President Kevin J Worthen, right, talks to BYU Spokesperson Carri Jenkins in a video addressing BYU’s Honor Code Office and the Title IV Office. BYU has assembled a committee to find a safer way for students to report sexual assaults.

BYU has organized a committee to investigate the university’s process on reporting sexual assault and how it works under Title IV.

“We are listening to the concerns expressed about the reporting of sexual assaults to our Title IX Office,” said BYU President Kevin J Worthen, who promised in April that BYU would organize said committee. “We care deeply about the safety of our students.”

The university announced Thursday that the Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Assault has been looking at feedback and has set up a site, feedback2016.byu.edu, to receive more feedback from anyone who wants to express their opinion and help the university in the process.

The survey asks four basic questions: suggestions on how BYU can improve in handling sexual assault cases; if desired, personal experiences to illustrate your suggestion; any additional feedback; and your relationship to BYU. Everyone is invited to take the survey and it even lists community member and victim advocate as options for your relationship to BYU.

[pullquote]Share feedback with BYU at feedback.byu.edu.[/pullquote]

The advisory council is made up of four faculty members: BYU Student Life Vice President Janet S. Scharman; Dr. Julie Valentine, a BYU nursing professor whose research focuses on sexual assault and violence against women; Dr. Ben Ogles, the dean of BYU’s College of Family, Home and Social Sciences; and Dr. Sandra Rogers, the International Vice President at BYU and a former dean of the BYU College of Nursing.

Each council member was chosen for their expertise and experience, according to a press release. The group has two primary goals, which are to identify changes necessary on campus to eliminate sexual assault and develop a safe reporting system on campus for sexual assaults.

“I assure you that this advisory council will study every part of the sexual assault reporting process at BYU,” Scharman wrote in an email to students and faculty.

BYU turned its attention to investigating the relationship between the Honor Code Office and the Title IV Office after a BYU student, Madi Barney, accused the university of holding her enrollment after she reported being raped. Barney created an online petition calling for an immunity clause from the Honor Code for victims of sexual assault so they won’t fear reporting being raped. She has more that 114,000 supporters.

“At the conclusion of this study I believe we will have a system that people — particularly the victims of sexual assault — feel they can trust, and that creates an environment where we can effectively work to eliminate sexual assaults on campus,” President Worthen said. “I have every confidence that this group will bring forward positive recommendations that will ultimately make BYU a better place.”

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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