Help Us Prevent Sexual Assault

Dear Friends, 

As president and dean of students, we cannot say enough about the damage, both short-term and long-term, that sexual assault does to survivors within our community. Our deepest hope and most earnest endeavor is that the campus be made safe for everyone at all times and in all places. We write today to ask you to help us prevent sexual assault and to help us support those who have suffered from an assault. 

Over the last year we have worked hard to scrutinize and revise our policies and protocols in cooperation with the Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee and members of the dean's staff.  We have been aided in our efforts by a wonderful team including Sharmaine LaMar in her capacity as Title IX coordinator; Beth Kotarski, director of the Worth Health Center, who with the assistance of Patricia Fishette from CAPS has taken on oversight for student sexual assault support services; and by the recent addition of Joanna Gallagher, associate director of public safety, who is now serving as deputy Title IX coordinator.

Through educational sessions and workshops with students, faculty, and staff, we are working hard to communicate our policies, the nature of our current support services, where students can receive confidential support, and who has responsibility for reporting sexual misconduct and assaults.  We must and we will continue these educational efforts. We look forward to your ideas on how we might improve communication and expand our educational and support services.  Along with Sharmaine, Beth, Patricia, and Joanna, we welcome your feedback and recommendations regarding ways in which we can continue to enhance the services we provide and heighten awareness of this troubling issue. 

In light of the recent sexual assault case at Amherst, which drew national attention, we plan to intensify our ongoing efforts and those of the Board of Managers to review and evaluate the effectiveness of our current procedures. We must also think carefully about what further measures we can take to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct and what more we can do to support survivors of such attacks. 

We must continue to work together as a community to create a culture where sexual assault or sexual misconduct of any kind is not tolerated. These are complex issues that require all of us to think critically about our actions-as individuals and on an institutional level. Let us redouble our efforts to do all we can to prevent sexual misconduct from happening on campus and to provide support for survivors.


Rebecca Chopp

Liz Braun
Dean of Students