Workgroup on sexual assault reporting to hold student forum

A group of 10 faculty members, staff and students working to draft a permanent policy on sexual assault reporting will hold a student forum next Friday, Sept. 30. The forum will be used to gather feedback on portions of the policy, the University of Oregon senate workgroup said in their weekly meeting on Friday, Sept. 23.

The workgroup was formed after UO President Michael Schill enacted an emergency policy in August after the UO Senate voted down the previous policy. The current policy requires almost all university employees to report suspected cases of sexual assault, but will expire by November.

Topics at next Friday’s forum include which university employees should be reporters of sexual assault, how non-reporters should advise students and the extent to which the university should rely on Callisto, an online system that allows for anonymous reporting.

“Callisto is designed to give information and options to survivors,” said workgroup member Jennifer Freyd, who teaches psychology at UO. She advocated the use of the system as a way to possibly raise the number of sexaul assault survivors who report, which she says hovers around 10 percent.

In the meeting on Sept. 23, the workgroup reached consensus that the policy should be multifaceted and largely follow the wishes of students coming forward to report sexual assault.

Students will likely have the option of reporting via Callisto, or through a UO employee. The workgroup plans to clarify the list of employees that will be required to report sexual assault and make that public for students to consult.

The committee has yet to determine how other employees — non-mandatory reporters — will be required to respond to suspected sexual abuse cases, but it discussed the need to move away from anything that might jeopardize a student’s confidentiality.

“We need a system where people can choose who they talk to and where that information goes,” Freyd said.

The workgroup will resume weekly meetings on Oct. 7. It aims to have the new policy passed by the UO senate by Nov. 19.

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Emily Olson

Emily Olson

Emily Olson is an associate news editor at the Emerald. She likes coffee.