Editor's Note: The following message was emailed to all BYU students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, October 26.
Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,
Today we are announcing that the Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Assault has completed its study and that the President’s Council has agreed with all the recommendations in the Advisory Council’s report. We are releasing that report today, and I wanted you to be the first to have access to it. I encourage you to read the Advisory Council’s full report, as well as its recommendations.
As the Advisory Council notes, sexual assault is an abhorrent offense that violates sacred doctrines – such as moral agency, the sanctity of the body and the sacred nature of marriage and sexual intimacy – that are central to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Sexual assault cannot and will not be tolerated at BYU.
Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students. This is particularly true for those who have been the victims of sexual assault. They have been through a devastating experience, and they are looking for our help and support. We have an obligation not only to provide that support, both emotional and spiritual, but also to create an environment where sexual assault is eliminated.
The Advisory Council, led by Vice President Janet S. Scharman, shares that commitment. Its report represents hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work since the council was formed in mid-May. It is thoughtful, thorough, candid and extremely helpful. I am deeply grateful to Vice President Scharman, Vice President Sandra Rogers, Dean Ben Ogles and Dr. Julie Valentine for their commitment to helping us find solutions to this complex and challenging issue.
After reviewing the report and recommendations, the President’s Council has determined to accept all of the 23 recommendations. There are several that we will begin to implement immediately, including the following:
- Create a new, full-time Title IX coordinator position to replace the existing part-time Title IX coordinator position.
- Create a victim advocate / confidential advisor position.
- Create a new, physical space to house the Title IX Office in a location separate from the Honor Code Office.
- Ensure that, unless the health or safety of others is at risk, the Title IX Office does not share information with the Honor Code Office about the complainant without the complainant’s consent.
- Adopt an amnesty clause.
Because the recommendation regarding amnesty involves a change in policy, the exact contents of this clause need to be reviewed by the Student, Faculty and Administrative Advisory Councils before it becomes official policy. In the meantime, we will operate under the amnesty guidelines recommended in the report.
More information about the report and what this means for BYU is contained at https://news.byu.edu/title-ix.
We do not have all the answers to this problem, which is a nationwide issue affecting all colleges and universities. But this report provides an excellent framework on which to build. Because of the Advisory Council’s extremely valuable work, we are in a much stronger position to help those who have suffered the traumatic effects of sexual assault and to prevent such events in the future. Heightened awareness of the issue by each one of us is itself a step in the right direction. I encourage us all to aid in this important endeavor.
Kevin J Worthen