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Update to the Community

Please read below for a brief update of the work the Advisory Council on Sexual Misconduct and Campus Safety has been doing to date, and invite opportunities for further discussions and involvement in our process.

To begin, the council wishes to acknowledge and show our support of the hard work and dedication of Hampshire's Title IX team. We believe they have provided a strong foundation for the council to work from and we want to thank them, as well as the President's office and the Board of Trustees, for their continual support of the work of our council.

Our council was formed in September and is made up of two faculty members: Jaime Dávila and Charles Ross; two staff members: Shannon DaSilva and Zena Clift; and four students: Brianna Deane, Elizabeth Lazowski, Cheyenne Palacio-McCarthy, and Kaylie Vezina, and are meeting weekly. The council will be focusing on the following areas to provide recommendations to the President by Spring 2017: education and prevention; student support; adjudication and communication. For more detailed information surrounding these areas, please visit our council website. We see our work as moving through three key phases: data collection, recommendation, and community education & action.

Phase One: Data Collection

Our committee has been engaging in a process to collect data in order to: deepen our understanding of what is currently being done, research alternative methods or best practices, begin to identify potential areas for growth and name the outstanding questions that still need to be answered. We are collecting data through in person conversations with current staff, online research, conversations with local and national experts, attending conferences, discussions with students, staff and faculty members on campus.

Phase Two: Develop recommendations

Our plan is to develop recommendations that will have short term and long term impact by May 2017, and will include the following:

  • Suggestions on identifying areas and positions that will be responsible for implementing the work.
  • Accountability measures such as deadlines for completing trainings for all employees and students, and public means to report when completed.
  • How the campus communicates our commitment to addressing issues of sexual misconduct.
  • How to appropriately communicate information about sexual misconduct to the community in a way that does not violate the privacy of those who are directly involved in hearings, in order to assure overall campus safety and to dispel rumors.

Phase Three: Community Education and Action

  • How can we demonstrate an ongoing commitment on a commitment to actively engage in the work around sexual misconduct and have spaces for critical dialogue around rape culture?
  • How can we use Sexual Assault Activism Month as a launch to increase awareness, deepen our institution commitment, and begin a dialogue about moving forward?

The council wants to recognize that these issues are not unique to Hampshire College; many college and universities are struggling how to better implement policy and comply with federal guidelines, and how better to support students. We want the Hampshire community to know of our strong investment and commitment to the prevention of sexual misconduct, assault, and relationship violence. We are looking for your engagement in providing insights, thoughts, and any information you feel appropriate to share with the council in moving forward. You can reach the council by emailing the co-chairs, Shannon DaSilva (sdasilva@hampshire.edu) or Zena Clift (zclift@hampshire.edu) anytime. Please be sure to indicate Advisory Council in the subject line.

Please check back periodically for updates. Thank you.

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