May 10, 2019
The end of the academic year is a time to look back to look ahead: a time to celebrate successes, yes, but also a time to embrace challenges and plan for the future. In speaking with many of you in recent weeks, one challenge has come up with increasing urgency: what we are doing to reduce sexual misconduct on our campus. I want to share some thoughts before the semester ends about the work we plan for next fall.
Let me say clearly: Connecticut College does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind. As president, I am committed to fostering a culture in which everyone is respected and safe. The College has been a longtime proponent of bystander intervention. Our Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion supports a team of confidential advocates and Title IX specialists. These measures, together with our policies, are designed to protect, empower, and educate our community, especially those who have experienced misconduct.
The voyeurism that took place in our residence halls this year was unprecedented. It was also unacceptable. The person found responsible has been expelled. The experience was violating for a number of people and deeply upsetting for the campus. You are asking for more action and more transparency. We are prepared to do the following over the next months:
- Phased installation of cameras to increase security at entrances and exits to residence halls
- Creation of a Conn College app to make critical phone numbers available in one touch
- Preparation of a year-end report on the number and handling of sexual misconduct complaints
- Placement of an additional blue light phone as well as lighted signs with information about Title IX resources in the River Ridges/Winchesters
- Administering a climate survey to gain more data about experiences of sexual misconduct
- Creating a working group of students, faculty, and staff to review and refine our policies, procedures, and communication strategies
Most importantly, please know that we will continue to welcome—and to heed—your ideas. Maintaining the safety of this College is my highest priority. You can expect to hear more about our progress in the Fall. Thank you for your care and concern. My best wishes for a successful end of semester and a restful and productive summer.