As SAFER has been shuffling through organizational changes and getting geared up for the year ahead, I’ve been completely remiss in posting a major campus update.
As of yesterday, Sarah Lawrence College officially launched their new Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy! For the past year and a half, a faculty/staff/and student task force has been working to completely overhaul the school’s policy (not to mention the months and months of student activism that preceded the task force), and all of their recommendations have now been accepted and put into action. As stated in a letter from the SCL President, policy highlights include:
- separate policies for faculty/staff and students that acknowledge the different nature of these two constituencies
- redefinition of prohibited behaviors into three categories: sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault
- clear and understandable language and format
- an emphasis in the student policy on education, health, and safety
- clear definition of “consent” in the student policy
- simplified explanation of how to obtain support on and off campus
- newly designed procedures for filing complaints that make the process easier to understand and navigate
- clear designation of which faculty, administrative and staff positions are confidential reporters and which are non-confidential reporters
- clear explanation for faculty/staff about what to do when they receive a report about sexual harassment, misconduct or assault from a student or a colleague
- newly defined statement about relationships between students and employees
- revised sanctions that are aligned with prohibited behaviors
Recent SLC graduate (and recently selected SAFER Board member) Erin Burrows was part of the policy revision process from the beginning, and her story and advice on campus activism can be tracked on our blog, as well as heard on our website’s front page. Congratulations to everyone at Sarah Lawrence who worked so hard and fought for change. The new policy can be found online. If you are interested in seeing how your school’s policy stacks up, remember that you check out SAFER’s College Sexual Assault Policies Database.