Interim President Coltrane sent the following email, outlining new and continued initiatives, in response to the initial recommendations from the Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support:
Dear President Robert Kyr, and Task Force co-chairs Carol Stabile and Randy Sullivan,
Thank you for providing me with the initial recommendations from the Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support. I value your important input and appreciate the work you and the committee have dedicated to this issue. I agree that it is important to consider these changes expediently.
Many of these initial recommendations focus on subjects that are also being studied by the Division of Student Life, the Provost’s Office, and the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. Additionally, the President’s Review Panel has been collecting information and will be forming recommendations on these same topics.
I am very encouraged to see our campus working together to find solutions and promising practices that will make our students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors safer. As you know, the university recently implemented changes to the student code of conduct designed to directly improve our response to sexual misconduct. I appreciate all the information members of the senate and task force have provided to support the panel’s review and admire the collaborative way the panel and task force have worked together.
The task force made five initial recommendations, and I agree with the intent of all five proposals. Following is how I will proceed with each:
- Emergency Fund for Survivor Support and Prevention: I am authorizing a discretionary fund of $15,000 to supplement the funding that the Division of Student Life has already allocated to these services. This funding will be used for survivor support and prevention. I am directing Vice President for Student Life, Robin Holmes, in consultation with her staff, the task force, and other campus constituents, to write guidelines on how the funding should be used to provide the best support to students. This funding is in addition to the $190,000 that was allocated for prevention programming through the Division of Student Life in August. I have asked the Vice President for Student Life to assess, based on this coming year’s experience, whether this level of funding is adequate to cover necessary emergencies or whether additional funding is needed, in which case she will make a budget augment request through the annual Strategic Initiative Request process.
- Good Samaritan Policy: The University of Oregon’s practice, as the task force recommendations acknowledge, is to eliminate any threat of punitive action that might prevent survivors or witnesses of sexual misconduct from reporting or seeking support. The suggestion to create an explicit policy on this issue is a good one. However, it is important that we carefully consider how to best structure and implement such a policy within our current conduct structure. To that end, I have directed the Division of Student Life to review the draft policy submitted by the senate task force and forward a policy for my immediate consideration. In the meantime, the university will continue its practices that align with the intent of this draft policy.
- Title IX Messaging: The President’s Office will send an e-mail message to all employees about Title IX resources, identifying our Title IX officer, and all Title IX responsibilities at the start of each fall term. This action is in keeping with our current policies and will be supported by a website listing all of this information. I am also directing the Title IX Coordinator, in cooperation with the Division of Student Life, to review our communications on the topic and look for ways to further improve the clarity and comprehensiveness of the information presented. I will suggest that the task force is consulted to obtain feedback on the website and communications, as a way to further ensure their effectiveness.
- Syllabus and Classroom Conversations: I support providing additional information to teaching faculty about preventing and responding to sexual violence. I am asking the Provost’s Office to review the draft syllabus statement and draft classroom discussion of violence suggested by the senate task force. Further I recommend that the Provost work with the task force on suggested edits and then send a revised draft to the full University Senate for its consideration at the earliest opportunity.
- UOPD Anonymous Reporting: The University of Oregon Police Department does not actively track, store, or access IP addresses when people submit a report through the UOPD anonymous on-line reporting form. However, due to the senate’s initial recommendations, we have learned that a submitter’s IP address is electronically embedded in the entry. The technical and policy issues related to disconnecting an IP address are not simple and warrant additional examination. I am directing UOPD to share information with my office and the task force on the options and considerations for addressing this issue. In the meantime, UOPD will continue its policy and practice of not accessing the IP addresses.
Again, I am deeply thankful to the many groups on campus who are working to bring recommendations, observations, and guidance to leadership to improve the university’s prevention, reporting, and support services. We all share the same ultimate goal of ensuring a safe and respectful campus.