Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Update

April 30, 2014

Dear Emerson Community,

I am writing to update you on the progress being made by the College regarding the review of our sexual assault prevention and response efforts. As you may recall, Margolis Healy & Associates has been engaged to conduct an external and independent review of the College’s Title IX and Clery Act policies, procedures, and practices related to reports of sexual assault.

The consultants have reviewed all of our written policies and procedures, interviewed numerous members of the community, and on March 18 and 19, held a series of open forums for students, faculty, and staff to share their views on the culture and climate at Emerson.

Because of the extensive review of materials and the inclusive engagement process, both of which required significant time commitments, Margolis Healy & Associates has informed me that their report will be complete after the spring term has concluded, but in all likelihood before the beginning of the fall semester, after which time, I will update you.

The internal task force, co-chaired by Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, and Professor Lori Beth Way, Senior Advisor to Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Education, has made very good progress in reviewing the College’s prevention, education, and training programs as well as the support services for students who report they have been subjected to sexual assault for consistency with best practices. I expect to receive their report very soon. The task force plans to move forward with the implementation of critical action items beginning this summer.

I wish to thank the students, faculty, and staff whose collective and collaborative work has made positive strides in this very important area, including most recently the appointment of Dr. Melanie Matson to serve in the newly created position of Director of Violence Prevention and Response/Sexual Assault Response Advocate. We have strengthened our educational and training programs; revised our survivors rights and options resource materials on our website and in printed brochures; and written, distributed, and implemented a new Campus SaVE Policy. In addition, the search for a new Title IX coordinator position, recently approved by the Board of Trustees, will commence shortly.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to helping us strengthen our community.

Lee Pelton