The BYU Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Assault is concluding its study and preparing a final report with recommendations that will be sent to the President and President’s Council. Since mid-May the Council has conducted an in-depth examination of the sexual assault reporting process at BYU and the university’s handling of sexual assault cases. The university intends to share these recommendations with the campus community this fall.

President Kevin J Worthen in his annual address last week to BYU faculty and staff said, “It causes us deep sorrow to know that members of our community would be victimized in such a devastating way. We are anxious to help them.”

Throughout the summer, members of the Council have been doing research and talking with people inside and outside the university to determine how to better handle the reporting process for victims of sexual assault as sensitively and compassionately as possible and to identify other changes that will help BYU move toward the elimination of sexual assault on campus.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the federal-equity law known as Title IX applies to cases of sexual assault.

The BYU Council has met with departments on campus associated with the Title IX process. Additionally, the Council has engaged with numerous other experts, survivors and students, as well as their families, in the following ways:

  • Reviewing every one of the more than 3,100 comments made on the website the university launched in May to obtain feedback on matters related to sexual assault. The feedback came from students, faculty, survivors, experts in this area and others.
  • Studying the sexual assault reporting process and Title IX structure of more than 75 universities.
  • Meeting with various community authorities who work with victims of sexual assault.
  • Inviting two national experts, psychologists Dr. David Lisak and Dr. Lindsay Orchowski, who spent time on campus working with the Advisory Council. Read the Q & A with Dr. Lisak.

In his annual address, President Worthen reiterated that although the university has faced challenges in the past year, it is those challenges that give us opportunities to improve.

As the final report is readied, he said, “Let me emphasize that the top priority in this extensive effort is the safety and well-being of our students, especially those who have been the victims of sexual assault.” 

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