Letters to the Editor
An open letter about sexual assault
We write in response to recent dialogue in Student Life and throughout the University community about sexual assault.
In 1990, the University started a Task Force charged with addressing the serous issue of sexual assault and rape on our campus. Specifically, it was charged with: assessing the extent and circumstances of campus sexual abuse among students; developing mechanisms for confidential reporting of incidents; making recommendations for educational programming and dissemination of information; and reviewing and making recommendations regarding policy expectations, including judicial procedures and consequences.
The Task Force, made up of student, faculty and staff representatives, became the Committee on Sexual Assault (COSA). Accomplishments include:
* The Date, a required peer education program for all first-year students
* Coping with Sexual Assault, a Resource Guide for Survivors and Friends brochure
* Anonymous Report of Sexual Assault, Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence form
* Arrangement with SART, the YWCA’s on-call Sexual Assault Response Team, to provide on-campus, confidential support to the University community.
* Crisis Counselors available 24/7
* Founding of One in Four, an all-male peer education group that seeks to educate male undergraduates about rape and sexual assault
* Support of student-led efforts to educate peers about prevention of and response to rape and sexual assault, including CORE, SARAH, One in Four, Take Back the Night, Uncle Joe’s, and V-Day
* Support of changes in the judicial system to ensure fairness
* Survey (last used in 1997, under revision this year)
There is, however, always more work to be done to prevent and respond to the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Fortunately, COSA is in a strong position to effect change toward creating a safer community. We welcome any questions or comments about the work we have undertaken and our plans for the future.
Members of the Committee on Sexual Assault (COSA)
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