May 2, 2008

President Snyder presents university's new sexual assault policy

To the Case Western Reserve University Community:

Barbara Snyder

I write today to present our institution's new policy regarding sexual assault.

At its best, a college campus promotes ideals of respect, tolerance and mutual support in the pursuit of knowledge. Our policies and programs seek to advance these values through education, conversation and, when necessary, consequences for those whose actions violate the rights of others.

Sexual assault represents one of society's most devastating crimes. Sadly, national statistics show that college-aged women are four times more likely than any other group to suffer this tragedy. Case Western Reserve University actively seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of sexual assault, and to provide responsive and appropriate assistance to those who have been sexually assaulted. A critical element of this work is ensuring that our policies and procedures are clear and comprehensive.

Last fall a university task force began examining our previous policy, which had not seen significant revision since 1994. Deputy Provost Lynn Singer and Vice President for Student Affairs Glenn Nicholls charged the committee to ensure the policy (1) addressed the needs of our students, faculty, and staff; (2) responded to societal expectations; and (3) complied with federal and state laws.

I want to thank the task force's co-chairs, Associate Provost Kathryn Karipides and Associate Vice President Sue Nickel-Schindewolf, for their leadership in this process, and commend all of its members for developing a far more thorough and detailed document. At the same time, I want to recognize the contributions of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, and the efforts of the Student Sexual Misconduct Task Force. The members of the student task force long lobbied for revisions to the old policy, and developed a draft policy that served as a guiding influence for the changes in the new policy.

The commitment these individuals demonstrated to creating a safer and more informed campus environment is nothing short of inspiring.

I strongly encourage every member of our community to review the new policy and become familiar with its major provisions.


Barbara R. Snyder