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Task Force to Examine Sexual Offense Policies and Practices

Oct. 29, 2012

Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous conversations on our campus as well as at our peer institutions about how colleges can and should respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Many of you are familiar with the steps that Yale University and Amherst College are taking to transform their approach to sexual misconduct and violence, and this is an opportunity for us to ask similar questions about our Sexual Offense Policy and process.

In response, and as part of the Oberlin College's unwavering commitment to a safe environment for all community members, I have launched a task force that will be charged with reviewing our policies and practices for reporting and responding to sexual offense. The task force will include student, faculty, and staff representatives, and will be responsible for producing a report during this academic year. Its review will encompass our Sexual Offense Policy, which is accessible online at http://new.oberlin.edu/office/equity-concerns/sexual-offense-policy/, and will extend to areas such as education, outreach, and communications about the policy.

As part of this review, the task force will offer public meetings and online forums to give you the chance to share your experiences, concerns, and recommendations for action. In the meanwhile, please don't hesitate to submit your comments to sop@feedback.oberlin.edu; the task force will preserve the confidentiality of any comment you choose to submit.

Your input will guide in developing strategies to prevent sexual offense, to encourage community members to report sexual offense, and to respond promptly and effectively to any such reports within the framework of Oberlin College’s dedication to providing equitable processes for all parties in sexual offense matters.

The administration has informed leaders of the college's Board of Trustees of our plan, and we have received their vigorous support. I will share further details about the task force's composition, charge, and timeline in the upcoming weeks, but I wanted you to be immediately aware of our proactive efforts to best address these important issues and the concerns of our community.

Our community has historically led the nation in ensuring equal educational opportunities for all. As a reflection of that mission, and as our Sexual Offense Policy asserts, Oberlin will not tolerate sexual offense in the work or academic setting. I ask you to join me as we continue our work to make sure that assertion is a reality.

Marvin Krislov is president of Oberlin College.

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  • Write anything you like as long as it’s civil and productive. Attack ideas if you wish, but not people. Oberlin = love, remember? (Seriously. Be nice or your comment will be removed.)

Well done!

Paul Dawson (Oct. 29, 2012)