Institution presidents sign memorandum of understanding regarding sexual assault
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, March 8, 2017
University President Fr. John Jenkins, Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli and Holy Cross President Br. John Paige signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Tuesday declaring their commitment to a “collaborative approach in [their] attempt to eliminate sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and any other form of sexual harassment” from the community, according to a University press release.
The MOU — which took effect Tuesday and will be renewed at the start of every academic year — is made up of eight provisions that “[seek] to foster communication and the sharing of information across our campus communities regarding awareness and prevention education, resources, reporting options and procedures,” according to the release.
These provisions include additional resources for students looking to file a complaint, further options for complainants regarding releasing information about complaints to the institutions they attend and an increased commitment from each institution to sexual assault awareness and prevention events.
The MOU also calls for improved communication between the institutions, the press release said, and outlines commitments to “[the] sharing of updates” and “[an] annual exchange of information among the institutions’ Title IX coordinators” about sexual assault initiatives, policies and resources.
Additionally, the release said the MOU ensures members of all three campus communities will be informed when one institution “issues a timely warning” to students regarding reports of sexual assaults.
“Any time one institution issues a timely warning for any reason, it will share it with designated officials at the other institutions,” the release said.
This step is the result of significant collaboration between the three presidents, Jenkins said in the release, as well as a testament to the bond between these campuses.
“Working together, our three campuses have made significant progress in our collective efforts to eliminate sexual assault, developing what we believe are best practices,” he said in the release. “I am grateful for the collaborative spirit which has animated these efforts and honored to join with my colleagues in codifying our shared commitment to providing all of our students with an educational environment that is safe and honors the dignity of each person.”
This collaboration is “essential to making substantive progress,” Cervelli said in a College press release.
“This MOU increases responsiveness when crimes do occur, protects and empowers students and creates a system of accountability across our campuses,” Cervelli said. “The goal that our three institutions share is to have a tri-campus community free from the devastating effects of sexual assault and other forms of harassment. … This agreement formalizes a working relationship rooted in a mutual commitment to addressing those issues and maintaining a social and academic environment that respects human dignity in keeping with our Holy Cross tradition.”