Our View: UA still has long way to go on sexual assault

Our View: UA still has long way to go on sexual assault

CW Editorial Board

On Monday, the 2015-16 Editorial Board of The Crimson White was recognized as an Associated Collegiate Press Award finalist for Editorial/Opinion Story of the Year. The 
column, entitled “University must address sexual assault,” accompanied our sexual assault special 
edition and its award-winning cover story, “Behind Closed Doors,” which told the story of a student dissuaded from reporting her assault because of her experience with UAPD and Title IX.

We at The Crimson White are happy to see our efforts to bring change to the issue of campus sexual assault recognized and rewarded. What we’re not happy about is that little, if anything, has changed.

Last year, our SGA embarked on a year-long campaign to end sexual assault to varied success. “It’s On Us” got students and university officials on board with signatures and high profile events. But as the Editorial Board indicated last year, simply calling attention to an issue and talking about it is not enough. When an issue on such a large scale presents itself, it calls for an 
outright and immediate response, and warrants substantive measures for change.

That’s exactly what the Editorial Board attempted to do, referencing specific shortfalls in the University administration’s approach to sexual assault and demanding that those problems be addressed.

The column called for the expansion of the University’s Haven 
training program to include issues such as sexual harassment, assault of men and LGBTQ+ persons, as well as an intense focus on the definition of consent and how to give and recognize it, public guest lectures on sexual assault prevention, yearly Title IX and required consent trainings for all student organizations, updated UAPD policies, including that 
victims who choose to report to police having the option to choose the gender of the person they report to, and addressing the dramatic funding and staffing shortages faced by the Women and Gender Resource Center and the Title IX Coordinator’s Office.

As of press time, the University administration has not publicly:

Expanded Haven Training to
include issues such as sexual harassment, assault of men and LGBTQ+ persons, or an intense focus on the definition of consent and how to give and recognize it.

Held a public guest lecture on 
sexual assault prevention.

Required consent trainings for student organizations.

Updated UAPD policies to include that victims who choose to report can choose the gender of the person they report to.

Addressed the dramatic funding and staffing shortages faced by the Women and Gender Resource Center or the Title IX 
Coordinator’s Office.

What the University has done is work to promote its UAct program, the usable extent of which is a page on the Title IX website, through one email sent by President Bell in July. In the seven months since the CW’s sexual assault edition, the University has sent out two emails on the subject of sexual assault, the aforementioned email in July, and one in April recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness month. A campus sexual assault survey commissioned by the University was conducted, but the results have yet to be made 
available to the public.

Aside from these few actions, the administration has been largely silent, making no public indication of any further investigations into 
campus assaults, no updates to 
policy and no intention to extend financial and staff assistance to the areas of campus vital to helping 
victims of sexual assault.

Now a month into this school year, our SGA has been just as conspicuously absent from this issue, failing to capitalize in any meaningful way on the awareness “It’s On Us” attempted to raise. If the University administration will not act on their own, it is the responsibility of the Student Government to pressure them until they do.

We don’t mean to detract from the well-intended efforts made by many of our fellow students. There is a need for awareness, a need for a conversation to be started. But 
conversation is not enough when it comes to the well-being of 
students. In the wake of events like the Stanford rape case, it’s more important now than ever that we take the steps necessary to protect the people that make this University possible. We hope that “It’s On Us” was not the end of that conversation, but the beginning of a series of changes that will truly end campus sexual assault.

The Crimson White Editorial Board still believes, as it did seven months ago, in this University’s 
ability to affect real change. It’s about time for it to happen.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board. Managing Editor, Elizabeth Elkin, has recused herself due to involvement in reporting “Behind Closed Doors.”