I commend Utah State University for the steps it is taking to enhance the ability of students and employees to deal with issues of sexual violence.
USU’s commitment to transparency and transformation of its campus culture provides an example all universities should embrace.
Sexual violence, as the #MeToo movement has shown, is an extensive and deeply entrenched aspect of our culture that cannot be tolerated. At the University of Utah, we know our efforts on this front must be ongoing and comprehensive, requiring the commitment of the entire campus community.
Our own efforts have included ensuring key employees such as our police officers receive trauma-informed training, addressing physical features of campus to enhance safety, increasing victim advocate services and working to implement campuswide prevention training.
As of last year, we’ve revised policies and processes, and established a comprehensive website called SafeU that brings together safety resources and reporting information. Our Title IX coordinator meets regularly with colleagues across the state to share best practices. Our Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life works with Greek chapters and their national organizations to provide oversight, programming and leadership development.
These efforts aside, none of our institutions are exempt from concerns about sexual violence and our responses must always be timely and appropriate. As our campuses engage in this work, we as institutions of higher education are sending a collective message that sexual violence is unacceptable.
Ruth V. Watkins, president, University of Utah