UR adopted a new policy regarding sexual assault on campus on June 1, 2014. The new policy attempts to clearly define terms such as harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual assault and defines the procedures that are to be followed in the case of a reported case of misconduct.

The policy change, according to Title IX Coordinator Morgan Levy, was not a response to recent local and national media stories about sexual assault on college campuses nationwide. Instead, the topic was brought up two years ago during a review of the Standards of Student Conduct. Levy said there was discussion about clarifying and rewriting the policy, but that it was put on the back burner for a period of time as other projects arose for the policy team.

The policy revision team consisted of professors, representatives from the Residential Life office, administrators, and students from various groups on campus including URSegway and Men Opposed to Violence (Against Women) Everywhere (MOVE). When asked about the effectiveness of the students in these conversations and in the general combat against sexual assault on campus, Levy said these groups have been tremendously helpful. “[The groups have] done a great job of connecting administrators with the students,” she said.

The updated process of filing formal complaints begins with a student report to a member of the University community. According to the policy, “supervisors or other responsible employees who observe or receive or learn of reports or concerns of perceived discrimination, harassment or retaliation […] must report those concerns or reports […] upon making such observations or being informed of such concern or report.” The University will then investigate and respond to any reports by first attempting to resolve them informally. If it is determined that further investigating needs to occur, an investigation must be completed within 45 days of the original report.

According to Levy, the previous policy was far more vague about the details of the steps that were to be taken when students reported sexual assault. The old process was publicly criticized in the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper last month. According to the article, a student, who wished to remain anonymous, felt she was subjected to “an unfriendly grievance process and harsh questioning by UR officials.”

According to Levy, “This new policy aims to ensure a students feel safe and supported through the entire reporting process.”

When asked about the new policy, junior and founding member of MOVE Chris Bohn said he supported the change. “It’s a good first step,” he said. “The administration has identified there’s a problem. They are working to help fix this problem on our campus.”

Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.

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