Editor’s Note: The following message was emailed to all BYU students, faculty and staff on Thursday, May 19.
To: All Students, Faculty and Staff
From: Jan Scharman, BYU Student Life Vice President
Subject: Update on Sexual Assault Study; Request for Your Feedback
Last month, President Worthen announced that BYU would study the sexual assault reporting process and structure under Title IX at the university. He reiterated his and the university’s concern for the well-being and safety of all of our students. He also emphasized that we are listening to the concerns expressed about the reporting of sexual assaults to our Title IX Office.
President Worthen asked me to chair the group that would spearhead this study. He outlined two primary goals for our group, the Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Assault:
- Identify changes that will help BYU work toward the elimination of sexual assault on campus.
- Determine how to better handle the reporting process for victims of sexual assault as sensitively and compassionately as possible consistent with the requirements of the Department of Education’s Title IX program.
As the university has already stated, we are specifically looking at potential structural changes within the university, the process for determining whether and how information is used, and the relationship between the Title IX Office and the Honor Code Office.
Over the last month we have reviewed feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni and others, as well as the comments that were delivered to BYU on April 20.
This morning we launched a website to obtain additional feedback from you and others on matters related to sexual assault. This website – feedback2016.byu.edu – is open to all, and feedback is anonymous. We appreciate and value all input.
The information that is gathered from this website will be an important component of a thorough and comprehensive study. The members of the advisory council were chosen for their experience, expertise and concern for every student at BYU. They have a deep commitment to preserving a safe campus environment where there is zero tolerance for sexual assault.
As the Vice President for Student Life, I have been asked to lead this council. I have served as dean of students at BYU and am a licensed psychologist, with a doctoral degree from the University of Utah in counseling psychology.
There are three other members of the advisory council:
- Dr. Julie Valentine, a BYU nursing professor whose research focuses on sexual assault and violence against women.
- Dr. Ben Ogles, the dean of BYU’s College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, who came to BYU from Ohio University, where he served as chair and director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology.
- Dr. Sandra Rogers, the International Vice President at BYU and a former dean of the BYU College of Nursing.
This group has called and will continue to call upon others inside and outside the university to provide added perspective and insight. I assure you that this advisory council will study every part of the sexual assault reporting process at BYU. Thank you for your ongoing faith and effort to help in this commitment.