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President’s Task Force on Combating Sexual Violence and Supporting Our Students

Letter to the UConn community from President Maric:

Dear Huskies,

When we last spoke, our community was seeking to understand how to do more to support our students.  Over the past several days, many of you have contacted me to express the need for myself and other University leaders to more thoroughly examine the impact of sexual violence upon our community.  As a result, I have created and appointed members to the President’s Task Force on Combating Sexual Violence and Supporting Our Students. 

The President’s Task Force on Combating Sexual Violence and Supporting Our Students is charged with evaluating how the University of Connecticut educates, prevents and responds to sexual violence.  This includes how students are educated on the topics of sexual violence, the standard of consent, healthy relationships, incapacitation, and bystander programs.

The experience of reporting an assault, evaluating next steps, and seeking counseling and support is deeply challenging and impactful upon involved students.  This committee will also be charged with the intentional review of all relevant procedures designed to support students who are participating in the process of reporting sexual violence including how policy, process, Title IX obligations, and support are easily shared with students.

I am particularly grateful to Eleanor JB Daugherty, Claire Dutton, a graduate student in the Neag Higher Education and Student Affairs Program, and Mason Holland, an undergraduate student leader who serves as President of Undergraduate Student Government, for agreeing to lead this effort and serve as co-chairs.  I believe it is essential that this work be led jointly be students and university leadership.  I look forward to reviewing their work at the conclusion of the spring semester.

Task Force Members include:

  • Luz Burgos-Lopez, Assistant Dean of Students
  • Kimberly Caprio, Director of Title IX Compliance, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
  • Anne D'Alleva, Dean of the School of Fine Arts
  • Sarah Farney, Greeks Against Sexual Assault
  • Nathan Fuerst, Vice President for Enrollment Planning & Management
  • Kathleen Holgerson, Director of the Women’s Center
  • Tysen Kendig, Vice President for Communications
  • Jamie Kleinman, Associate Professor in Residence
  • Gerald Lewis, Chief of Police
  • Jenn Longa, Assistant Dean of Students for Victim Support Service & Bystander Initiatives
  • Eboni Nelson, Dean of the UConn School of Law
  • MaryAnn Perez-Brescia, Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Letissa Reid, Associate Vice President, Title IX Coordinator, ADA Coordinator
  • Hans Rhynhart, Associate Vice President of the Division of Public Safety
  • Sofia Rodriguez, Chief of Staff for the Undergraduate Student Government’s President
  • Irio Schiano, Graduate Student Senate President
  • Leslie Shor, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education, Associate Professor
  • Sabrina Uva, President of the Student Government Association (Stamford Campus)
  • Grace (Zehui) Wang, Undergraduate Student

I am grateful to each of them for agreeing to serve on this task force and support our work on behalf of those impacted by sexual violence.  Together, I am confident that we can continue to thrive as a compassionate, student-centered institution.

Sincerely,
Radenka

Dr. Radenka Maric
Interim President, University of Connecticut

The Charge:

The President’s Task Force on Combating Sexual Violence and Supporting our Students is charged with evaluating how the University of Connecticut educates, prevents and responds to sexual violence.  This includes how students are educated on the topics of sexual violence, the standard of consent, healthy relationships, incapacitation, and bystander programs.  In addition, this committee is charged with the intentional review of all relevant procedures designed to support students who are participating in the process of reporting sexual violence including how policy, process, Title IX obligations, and support are shared with students.

Meeting 1: Charge Meeting: Welcome and Overview of Policy and Institutional Responsibility

Meeting 2: Education and Training:

Meeting 3: Support for Individuals involved in the process:

Meeting 4: Discussion and recommendations

 

The specific elements that are part of this scope include the following:

Education and Prevention: The university strives to not only address acts of sexual violence professionally and in a timely and thoughtful way, but also aspires to do everything practical to help prevent sexual violence.  The Task Force on Combating Sexual Violence and Supporting our Students will review student training programs beginning with orientation committed to sexual violence prevention, alcohol awareness and incapacitation, healthy relationships, and bystander programs.

Student Support:  The experience of reporting an assault, evaluating next steps, and seeking counseling and support is deeply challenging and impactful upon involved students.  The Task Force will review:

  1. How university policy and federal regulations are communicated to students and how the processes surrounding the conduct and criminal process are shared in a trauma informed approach
  2. How University staff (including university police) are trained as reporting officials and the frequency of those trainings and feedback on the impact of their efforts.
  3. Review the effectiveness of UConn processes and protocols relating to the provision of medical assistance, counseling assistance, communication of victims’ rights and the availability of informational resources following a referral to the University.

Recommendations:

The Task Force is invited and encouraged to recommend revisions and additions to the processed described in the charge.  A final report will be provided by the Chairs to the President by May 15.

It is important to note that many aspects of the Title IX process, including jurisdiction and the hearing process are mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

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