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Committee on assault presents to Fr. Poorman

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention (CSAP) – a committee formed to lead “a comprehensive review of Notre Dame’s sexual assault policies and resources” – presented recommendations to Fr. Mark Poorman, vice president for Student Affairs, earlier this month according to a statement by the Committee.

Ann Firth, associate vice president for Student Affairs and a member of CSAP, said the review of the policies was to identify steps the University might take to prevent sexual assault and address unacceptable behavior “beyond what is currently in place” in the University’s policy.

“All of these efforts must be understood in the larger context of the Notre Dame community, a community dedicated, in the words of the University’s mission statement, to ‘the formation of an authentic human community graced by the Spirit of Christ,'” Firth said in an e-mail.

She said the work of CSAP seeks to “ensure the safety of every student.”

“Clearly, sexual violence has no place here,” Firth said.

CSAP was born out of a resolution from Student Senate in December of 2008, which asked for a review of “the effectiveness of the University’s sexual assault, rape and sexual misconduct policy, resources for victims of sexual assault, and the University’s disciplinary options available to victims of sexual assault.”

The Observer reported the resolution stated that “the University’s current resources for victims and disciplinary options often do not satisfy the needs of the survivors” in a Dec. 11 article.

Firth said the resolution went to Poorman, who created CSAP – composed of a combination of students and faculty – to examine the current policies and make suggestions for improvement.

CSAP, along with representatives from student government, formed three subcommittees: Policies and Procedures, Resources and Education/Prevention.

“As part of their work together, the subcommittees examined current University policies, programs, and resources, and collected information from peer institutions,” Firth said. “The Committee also hosted an open listening session during Sexual Assault Awareness Week in February to which all students were invited.”

Fr. Poorman will now consider CSAP’s recommendations and may implement next year, the statement said.