UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State President Eric Barron today (Feb. 17) endorsed all 18 recommendations to fight sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus that were presented last month by a task force. The recommendations range from creating new positions and mandatory training for faculty and staff, to an annual climate survey and a required course for all first-year students that explores issues of student well-being and safety.“I found that every recommendation has merit and that when combined, these actions present a strong and comprehensive response to sexual violence and harassment on our campuses,” Barron said. “This report sets our expectations at an extremely high level — it’s a level I know we can achieve. It is a well-thought out roadmap for moving Penn State into a national leadership position in the struggle to address sexual misconduct.”Barron created the Task Force on Sexual Assault and Harassment in July 2014 to review existing Penn State initiatives and advocate for additional efforts that would elevate Penn State’s commitment to curbing sexual violence and misconduct. On Jan. 29, the task force put forth its comprehensive list of recommendations, which stressed the importance of spreading awareness about sexual misconduct, as well as the significance of bringing a broader community perspective to these issues.In a video to the University community, Barron discusses his reaction to the report and his support and acceptance of all of the recommendations.
President accepts all 18 recommendations presented by sexual assault task force
In an acceptance letter to the task force, Barron thanked the 17-member group and spelled out the University’s path forward in carrying out the recommendations. The first recommendation to be implemented, according to Barron, will be the hiring of a full-time Title IX coordinator and the allocation of resources to create a stand-alone office that can also ensure that Commonwealth Campuses will have the necessary funding to address the issues.Under Barron’s vision, once hired the Title IX coordinator would then be tasked with fulfilling a number of the remaining recommendations — such as implementing an investigative model for resolving sexual misconduct cases; analyzing and improving sanctions; undertaking a comprehensive climate survey; and creating an expert advisory committee to support the efforts. Other offices within the University are given responsibility for instituting different components of the report.
To read Barron’s letter of acceptance in its entirety, go here.“We take any incidence of sexual misconduct seriously and while Penn State has a long history of prevention programs, policies and protocols to address sexual misconduct, these need to be better coordinated and integrated across our campuses. At the same time we must move forward in developing new initiatives with the continued hope that we can impact this serious challenge,” Barron said. “I’m grateful to the task force for its hard work and I am certain that their efforts will spur community dialogue about this important issue.”
Barron said he expects to roll out all of the recommendations in phases, with a majority of them being instituted within 12 months of hiring a new Title IX coordinator. The search process for the coordinator will begin immediately.