Task Force Report and New Sexual Misconduct Policy

August 28, 2015

Dear Members of the Trinity Community,

One year ago, I announced the formation of a Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct to spearhead Trinity’s initiative to assess and improve our policies, procedures, and training for preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.  As I wrote at that time, “Doing all that we can to prevent sexual misconduct, creating ways that encourage students who are victims or bystanders to come forward, and assuring the soundest adjudication process should these incidents occur are priorities of the highest level.  For me, this is more than a matter of law; it is a moral imperative.”

The task force, which I chaired, included faculty, staff, and students, and its members met monthly during the last academic year, with subcommittees meeting in between.  As a culmination of its work, the task force has issued a report that I am pleased to share with you here: http://www.trincoll.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Task-Force-Report.pdf

The report includes specific recommendations from each of the four subcommittees, some of which we have already started to implement.

Additionally, I asked several members of the task force to continue meeting during the summer to draft formal language for a reporting and adjudication of sexual misconduct policy that reflects the recommendations of the task force and current laws.  They have worked conscientiously and expeditiously to create the Trinity College Policy on Sexual Misconduct (edited on 9/1/2016: http://www.trincoll.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Policy-on-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf)

which will now govern all of us — students, faculty, and staff.  This Interim Policy is consistent with national best practices and is effective immediately.  During the next several weeks, members of the community will have the opportunity to engage in discussion and to provide feedback about the Interim Policy through appropriate governance structures before we finalize the policy.

I want to acknowledge and thank the members of the task force for their commitment to their work and to their College.  Members included students Omolara Abiona ’16 (first semester), Elliott Barron ’15, Greg Convertito ’16 (second semester), and Sharnjit Dhaliwal ’16 (second semester); faculty members John Platoff, Katharine Power, and Maurice Wade; and administrators David Andres, Kathy Andrews (second semester), Christopher Card, Beth Iacampo, Mary Jo Keating (first semester), Laura Lockwood, Robert Lukaskiewicz, Dickens Mathieu (second semester), Thomas Mitzel, Francisco Ortiz; and consultants Frederick Alford (first semester) and James Sconzo (first semester).  And a special thanks to Karla Spurlock-Evans, who co-chaired the task force with me and drafted the report.

I also wish to thank the summer working group for their diligence.  Members were David Andres, Christopher Card, Joseph DiChristina, Timothy Dunn, Brian Heavren, Beth Iacampo, Laura Lockwood, Robert Lukaskiewicz, Dickens Mathieu, Karla Spurlock-Evans, and Melanie Stein.

I look forward to continuing to report to you on our ongoing work to prevent sexual misconduct and make our campus safer.

Sincerely,

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College
   Professor of Neuroscience