Friday, December 7, 2012

Roosevelt responds

Roosevelt's President issued a response to the recent sexual assault that happened on campus.
From President Middleton:

December 7, 2012

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Assault

I am writing today about sexual assault, a crime that tragically occurs frequently on college campuses across our country. At Roosevelt a number of students and others have been speaking up about this deplorable act. I commend them for calling attention to this serious issue. In the true spirit of our University, they are advocating for people who have been victimized by other members of our society.

During my 40 years in higher education as a professor, dean, provost and president, I have always enforced a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault and all forms of violence. College campuses should be free from the violence of the outside world. Yet, nationally one in four women will be the victim of a sexual assault during her academic career. Roosevelt is not immune from that reality, so we have a special obligation, with a record number of students living on campus, to be vigilant and caring.

Roosevelt complies with the federal Clery Act. Once a crime is reported to the University, if the perpetrator is unknown and there may be a risk to the campus community, we issue timely notifications. These alerts contain as much information about the suspect as possible and include information that would promote safety and aid in the prevention of similar crimes. We hold training sessions on sexual assault protocols for employees, including resident assistants and campus safety personnel, and provide information to students during new student orientation and through ongoing education and workshops offered by the Counseling Center, Campus Safety and Residence Life. Next fall, attendance at the session on safety and sexual violence will be mandatory for new students.

Students also need to support one another and make it clear that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. If they know of someone who has been assaulted, they should encourage the student to seek immediate help from Residence Life or Campus Safety at any time of the day or night. The University has experienced and trained counselors and safety officers who will provide a caring response to the victims of a crime and offer referrals and services to meet all of their physical and emotional needs. And we always enforce strict codes of conduct and cooperate with the local police in their investigation.

Please do not be silent about sexual assault. It is not a crime of passion and lust, it is a crime of violence. As many as 80% of all assaults involve acquaintances. An assailant might be someone you know quite well and may even be a friend or a coworker.

I know this is a difficult subject, but it is a serious issue that commands the attention of all of us, and so I urge you to discuss this issue at home, at work and in the classroom and to be an advocate against sexual violence here at Roosevelt and everywhere else. In order for our students and employees to be safe, we need everyone to be vigilant and to provide support when they know of someone who needs help. Thank you for taking a stand against sexual violence.


Chuck Middleton

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