In dramatic testimony yesterday, the mother of a University of Connecticut student who was sexually assaulted told legislators the school was slow to respond to her. Kathy Megan reports:
… my personal experience in the aftermath of the assault on my daughter has shown me that the status quo on our state’s university campuses is in dire need of change and woefully misrepresented…
In her testimony, the UConn student’s mother told legislators that her daughter has endured “repeated comments from the state police that her attacker was a ‘really nice guy.’ It speaks to the pervasive level of apathy toward the victims.”
When she called the university, the woman said was redirected to seven offices over two and a half hours. She said she was met with “arguments and confusion” from “uninformed and inexperienced members of campus security.”
… Additionally, the mother said she also made multiple calls to university President Susan Herbst that were not returned. Conklin said she was given a “single point of contact” — an assistant vice president — very early on in the process.
UConn President Susan Herbst Friday announced a series of measures to improve the climate on campus and to provide more help for crime victims.
The measures include designating a university office as a “single point of contact” for victims of campus crime.
“Our goal is to remain at the forefront of the battle against sexual assault and harassment by doing all we can to mirror best practices nationally, and to be a leader in the field,” Herbst said. “We seek not only to emulate others, but also to be a model for other colleges and universities across the nation. Today, we take another step in that direction.”
“… we all know very well that our work is never truly finished, particularly when it comes to the issue of sexual violence on our campuses,” Herbst said in a story on the UConn Today website.
“Our policies, procedures, services, and resources must be reviewed and reimagined on an ongoing basis,” she said. “This will ensure we are employing the best strategies to combat sexual violence and provide victims with the help they need.” Continue reading
A bipartisan group of legislators is proposing tighter reporting requirements for sexual assaults on college campuses.
“In Connecticut we are going to have the strongest response for victims of sexual assault on college campuses as anywhere in the nation,” Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said at a press conference Thursday morning.
Sen. Toni Boucher, the ranking Republican member on the legislature’s higher education committee, said the proposed legislation is a signal of how seriously Connecticut lawmakers take the issue of sexual assault on campus.
“The students need a great deal of support,” Boucher said. A “college campus has to have a…uniform process on how to do this correctly [and] there should be more communication between themselves and law enforcement right from the very beginning.”
He doesn’t look very scary.
The Associated Press reports that President Obama on Wednesday will launch a initiative aimed at combating sexual assault on college campuses, three months after several UConn students filed a federal discrimination complaint that accuses the school of inadequately investigating and responding to reported rapes and sexual assaults.
The president is creating a task force that will study how universities can take measures to prevent and respond to sexual assault. The administrative panel also will focus on how each institution has addressed the issue in the past, and develop ways the federal government can hold schools accountable for their track record.
The Title IX complaint filed against UConn last October includes allegations that perpetrators’ sanctions were lifted and that university police shrugged off complaints and questioned the credibility of victims of sexual assault. A fifth student since has joined the plaintiffs. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for the plaintiffs who suffered as a result of UConn’s “deliberate indifference” to the issue, and asks the court to order UConn to revise its policies and procedures.
Sen. Blumenthal praised the president’s action on the issue, and said in a statement, “sexual violence is not a women’s issue; it is a societal issue. Particularly significant in this call to action is engaging men as ‘influencers’ of other men – role models leading by example to discourage and deter sexual assault and violence.”
In an email to staff today, UConn President Susan Herbst said that Hillary Clinton will be visiting campus this spring:
… on April 23, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former Secretary of State and Former U.S. Senator from New York will deliver remarks and participate in a question-and-answer session at the Jorgensen for this year’s Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum.
Clinton’s remarks, which will be followed by a Q and A session, will be held at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on UConn’s Storrs campus on April 23 at 7:30 p.m. This event will mark the first time Secretary Clinton has visited UConn.
A poll released Monday by Quinnipiac University finds that Clinton has surged ahead of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the wake of the scandal over traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. The pollster reports:
In the wake of “Bridgegate,” the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal, several measures of New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie’s 2016 presidential prospects are down, as he trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 46 – 38 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
This compares to the results of a December 11 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University showing Gov. Christie at 42 percent and Secretary Clinton at 41 percent. The December results were almost identical to those of a November 13 survey.
Clinton will speak as part of the 2014 Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum, a program designed to bring young schoolars and leaders to campus. She is being paid by the UConn Foundation, through a gift from the Fusco Family. The financial arrangements are private. The New York Times has reported that Clinton earns $200,000 per speech.
The University of Connecticut reports today that applications have jumped 10 percent this year.
Not only are more students applying, but they have higher board scores.
More than 29,500 students applied as of Wednesday’s due date, a 10 percent increase over last year’s number. The average SAT score of the applicants is 12 points higher than last year’s, and the number of minority applicants also increased by 16 percent — an important consideration in UConn’s commitment to diversity.
Working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Connecticut researchers looked at 122,000 home sales in Massachusetts and found “no evidence” that wind turbines affect real estate prices. The research was funded by the federal government and the state of Massachusetts. For the study, UConn looked at densely-populated neighborhoods near 41 existing and proposed wind turbines in Massachusetts:
The results of this study do not support the claim that wind turbines affect nearby home prices. Although the study found the effects from a variety of negative features (such as electricity transmission
lines and major roads) and positive features (such as open space and beaches) generally accorded with previous studies, the study found no net effects due to the arrival of turbines in the sample’s communities.
Appearing on WNPR’s Where We Live this morning, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he’s told University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst that the school must address the fact that young women feel there’s a problem with how sexual assault cases are handled.
“It’s a problem and it needs to be addressed,” Malloy told John Dankosky.
Malloy said this is separate from the pending U.S Department of Education investigation and federal lawsuit under Title IX. Last week, another former student joined the federal lawsuit:
Silvana Moccia alleges that she was raped as a freshman in 2011 by a male UConn hockey player and that when she reached out for help, she was met with “indifference” by university officials, encouraged to transfer by a team doctor and kicked off the team by her coach.
Moccia, who now lives in Somerville, Mass., alleges that UConn officials did not inform her of her legal options in the case and that the coach, in removing her from the team, said she wasn’t “stable enough” and would “bring down the team.”
Photo credit: Chion Wolf.
At the MetroHartford Alliance this morning, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy likes what he sees with UConn moving into Hartford:
A few more words from the governor: