Saint Mary’s president announces task force to combat sexual assault
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Saint Mary’s president Carol Ann Mooney announced in an email to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday she is creating a Presidential Taskforce to take on the subject of sexual assault and sexual misconduct at the College.
The decision to create the Presidential Task force comes after the April 9 screening of the CNN documentary “The Hunting Ground,” according to a College press release. “The Hunting Ground” detailed two cases of sexual assault at Saint Mary’s, including the case of former student Lizzy Seeberg, who committed suicide after allegedly being assaulted by a Notre Dame football player.
Since the screening, there have been two panel discussions on Saint Mary’s campus, as well as a private conversation between Mooney and students Tuesday.
“Last night, April 28, 2015, I met privately with students to listen to their thoughts on ‘The Hunting Ground’ and the issues it has brought forward,” Mooney wrote in her email. “I have decided to form a Presidential Taskforce to continue the dialogue on the issue of sexual violence. This will be a Saint Mary’s taskforce, chaired by me and comprised of faculty, administration, and students.”
Mooney said in her email students can apply to be on the task force by submitting a letter to her office by May 30.
She also outlined the role and goal of the task force in the email.
“This taskforce will recommend ways to further improve our efforts to prevent sexual assault and sexual misconduct and to assist and support student survivors of sexual assault. It will also examine procedures for handling cases of sexual assault when they occur,” Mooney said.
“We must ensure that we have the best possible policies and practices in place and improve our communication about them. Saint Mary’s College should be a national leader in this area.”