SMC appoints sexual assault task force members
Haleigh Ehmsen | Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Last Wednesday, the Saint Mary’s faculty selected members for President Carol Ann Mooney’s task force on sexual assault. Mooney officially announced the creation of the task force over the summer after a screening of the documentary “The Hunting Ground” on April 9 spurred dialogue on the issue of sexual assault on campus.
In a letter sent Sept. 8 to Saint Mary’s campus community, Mooney said the task force is comprised of Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff, and it will announce its recommendations in May. Staff members include counselor Gina Christiana, Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Johnson, Assistant Director of Alumnae Relations Shay Jolly, College counsel Rich Nugent and Director of Campus Ministry Regina Wilson. Students on the task force include sophomore Lydia Lorenc, juniors Caylin McCallick, Kayla Gaughan, Julianne Olivieri and senior Bri O’Brien.
Faculty members include Bettina Spencer, associate professor of psychology, librarian Ula Gaha and Jamie Wagman, assistant professor of history and gender and women’s studies.
Mooney wrote in the letter,“I am most appreciative of the willingness of so many to participate in this important work and thank them in advance for their service. Minutes of the task force’s meetings will be posted on the college’s portal — [which is] expected to ‘go live’ on October 6.”
Mooney, who will serve as chair of the committee, said the task force will address three issues: reducing and eliminating sexual assault and sexual violence against students, improving the College’s procedures for handling claims of sexual assault and sexual violence and providing better support for students who have survived some form of sexual violence.
Gaughan said she is honored to be on the task force and hopes her participation will contribute to a reform of the current system.
“Being on the task force means I have an opportunity to voice students opinions, concerns and thoughts about sexual assault here at Saint Mary’s,” Gaughan said.“This task force is important to Saint Mary’s because sexual assault is an epidemic on our campus and college campuses around the United States.”
The task force is a step in the right direction for the College, Gaughan said.
“‘The Hunting Ground’ illustrated how the current system does not serve the student body or survivors. The task force gives us an opportunity make progress in prevention, policy and procedure.”