EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 23, 2014

Dartmouth College works to end sex assault on campus

CONCORD — Dartmouth College is working on multiple fronts to prevent sexual assault, encourage reporting and hold perpetrators accountable, an administrator said yesterday, days after the school’s president called it one of three critical issues that are compromising the school’s core mission.

Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson, an attorney for the school and the head of its judicial affairs office met with students, faculty and community members yesterday for the latest in a series of “Campus Conversations” launched by President Philip Hanlon earlier this year. The discussion followed a speech Hanlon gave last week in which he called for an end to high-risk and harmful behaviors, namely sexual assault, high-risk-drinking and a lack of inclusion.

“We are a great institution, 245 years old, poised for an even better future,” he said. “But Dartmouth’s promise is being hijacked by extreme behavior, masked by its perpetrators as acceptable fun.”

During the discussion yesterday, officials explained and got feedback on a proposed policy that calls for having a trained external expert investigate sexual assault allegations and determine responsibility and create tougher punishments for those found responsible.

One student in the audience suggested that the policy also should include guidance on not just what constitutes a lack of consent to sexual activity but rather a “healthy, positive framing” of what “good consent” looks like.

Leigh Remy, director of the office of undergraduate judicial affairs, said that might be possible, but it also would make sense to make that part of the college’s efforts to educate students about sexual assault prevention.

“This policy, and many of our policies, people read too late,” she said. “There are ways for us to take the information that’s in the policy and put it into education.”

Johnson said the college has many valuable prevention and education programs aimed at first-year students, but should do more beyond that.

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