SPCSA to host symposium on campus sexual assault, policy
This afternoon, faculty, alumni and administrators will gather in Collis Common Ground for the third annual Symposium on Sexual Assault. The symposium, hosted by the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault, aims to move Dartmouth forward by fostering discussions about sexual violence on campus and asking attendants for their recommendations, SPCSA chair Sophia Pedlow ’15 said.

This year’s symposium, Pedlow said, is divided into three parts: presentations, small group discussions to draft policy recommendations and a question-and-answer session with Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson and College President Phil Hanlon. The symposium is adapted each year to focus on current campus events and culture, she said. “Every year it’s different because it reflects the changes and the progress that we’ve made,” Pedlow said. “A lot has been going on on this campus both in terms of student activism and proposed policy changes, and we really hope that this will be a productive forum to bring those two things together.” In March, the College released a proposal, over 4,000 words long, for a new sexual assault policy. If it is enacted, students found guilty of sexual assault involving penetration, oral-genital contact or oral-anal contact after use of force, threat or purposeful incapacitation of a survivor, as well as students motivated by bias or with prior records of sexual assault who commit these acts, would be expelled from the College. The symposium will begin with a presentation reviewing College policy and received feedback. Johnson will then speak about the Center for Community Action and Prevention, and director of undergraduate judicial affairs Leigh Remy will outline the College’s proposed sexual assault policy. Following the presentations, each table of attendees will discuss the policies and offer feedback, Pedlow said. She said she hopes each group will think of ideas for combatting sexual assault and recommendations for future policy. Pedlow said these ideas form the basis for the SPCSA’s yearly recommendations on sexual assault, which are then submitted to the administration. The symposium will conclude with a question-and-answer session. Though administrators will speak, Pedlow said the symposium’s purposes and goals are crafted by students. SPCSA vice chair Carla Yoon ’15 said that the forum offers an opportunity for campus to come together as a community to offer feedback. Attedees will also hear about the work of the two winter term recipients of the SPCSA’s Elizabeth A. Hoffman grants, Yoon said. Bridget Lynn ’15 researched peer-advising groups at Dartmouth and Silvia Arora ’16 looked at the Committee on Standards process and peer institutions’ judicial review processes. Pedlow said the symposium is valuable because it provides an opportunity to measure accomplishments and evaluate what is left to be done. Previously enacted SPCSA recommendations include establishing Safe Ride and a centralized sexual assault resource center. CCAP is expected to launch this summer. The SPCSA has also recommended a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault. Pedlow said she hoped this year’s symposium would provide similarly successful proposals. “I hope that it inspires people to dream bigger than they already are, in terms of what this campus can change in order to be a safer place,” she said. Yoon added that the symposium can benefit those students who want to express a wide range of opinions about College practices. “A lot of people on this campus are angry, confused, frustrated and have a lot of questions about Dartmouth’s record on sexual assault,” Yoon said. “I think this is a good way for them to communicate with each other and with the College on ways that we have tried to improve and ways that we could be doing better in the future.” Paige Wilson ’14 said she is attending the symposium because she is interested in hearing from administrators about sexual assault, as she sees a disconnect between students and the administration. She added that she hopes to become more involved with policy making on the issue. Chris Meyer ’17 said he plans to attend because he hopes to better understand problems with the system and how they can be fixed. He added that the symposium, spanning three hours, is a large time commitment, which may be a reason some choose not to attend. “It’s something that’s important to being a member of the Dartmouth community, being able to have an intelligent conversation about these issues, so it’s worth the time,” Meyer said.
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