Sexual Assault and Harrassment Task Force Presents Report to President Barron
Today, the Penn State Sexual Assault and Harassment Task Force released its final report and set of recommendations to the public. The report, which includes over two hundred pages of resource materials, focuses the roles of Penn State students, employees, and community members in the context of sexual violence and misconduct.
President Barron, who created the task force last July, charged it to raise Penn State’s standard in addressing sexual misconduct on campus. “We want to create a culture that says, ‘We don’t tolerate this sort of behavior,’” said Damon Sims, Vice President for Student Affairs and chair of the task force.
The task force includes two student representatives. “It’s important to give an honest, baseline student perspective,” said student Melissa McCleery.
At the end of the report, the task force outlines 18 recommendations to President Barron, including a new investigative model for resolving sexual misconduct cases.
According to Danny Shaha, Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct, the new process would assign an investigator to each report of sexual misconduct. The investigator would then meet with each of the individuals involved in the report, and compile a packet detailing each of the stories.
Unlike the traditional model of misconduct cases, which sends all reports of misconduct through a panel of three faculty advisors and two students, the proposed panel will only consist of three faculty members.
“We fully acknowledge that the university will receive more reports of sexual misconduct if these tasks are put into place,” Sims said.
President Barron is expected to offer his formal response to the report in mid-February. “We are pleased that the president understands the complexity of this issue,” Sims said. “We believe that he is giving the recommendations the full consideration that they need.”
After President Barron announces which recommendations the university will accept, they will be implemented immediately.