The council hopes to "identify changes that will help BYU work toward the elimination of sexual assault on campus" and "determine how to better handle the reporting process for victims of sexual assault as sensitively and compassionately as possible," according to a media statement by BYU.
"The advisory council is specifically looking at potential structural changes within the university, the process for determining whether and how information is used, and the relationship between the Title IX Office and the BYU Honor Code Office," school officials wrote.
Members of the committee are BYU Student Life Vice President Janet S. Scharman; Julie Valentine, a BYU nursing professor and sexual assault nurse examiner who researches sex crimes and violence against women; Ben Ogles, the dean of BYU's College of Family, Home and Social Sciences; and Sandra Rogers, the international vice president at BYU.
The group has been receiving comments over the past month and is reviewing comments in a petition of at least 90,000 names, delivered to the school by protesters during a rally in April.
That petition now has 114,000 names and was launched by BYU student Madi Barney, who faced discipline after a Utah County sheriff's deputy gave her detailed rape report to the school's Honor Code Office. Barney was forbidden from enrolling in future classes unless she agreed to cooperate with an investigation into her conduct — which prosecutors discouraged because a criminal trial against the man accused by Barney is pending.
During a rape awareness event at the Provo campus in April, Barney raised her objections to the school's actions.
Other students have since shared their accounts of being investigated by the school after they reported being sexually assaulted. The school, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has faced criticism from law enforcement and victims' advocates who say that victims likely will not report sexual assaults if they fear academic discipline may result.
BYU's president, Kevin J. Worthen, in April announced that the school would study the issue.
"At the conclusion of this study I believe we will have a system that people — particularly the victims of sexual assault — feel they can trust, and that creates an environment where we can effectively work to eliminate sexual assaults on campus," Worthen said. "I have every confidence that this group will bring forward positive recommendations that will ultimately make BYU a better place."