Letter: Preventing Sex Assaults at Dartmouth

To the Editor:

This is in response to your Nov. 13 article “Dartmouth Class Proposes Plan Against Sexual Assaults.” Sexual assault is a devastating event for those who experience it. The offense destroys lives and compromises community. At Dartmouth, preventing sexual assault on campus and effectively dealing with the consequences are top priorities. Dartmouth is a place that encourages deep engagement around difficult issues like sexual assault, as exemplified by Professor Jennifer Fluri’s class, and we devote significant resources to addressing the problem. For example, we are partnering with Jennifer Sayre, a nationally recognized expert on sexual assault prevention, to develop a bystander-intervention program unique to Dartmouth. This initiative will train more than 250 students (in its inaugural month) to recognize and intervene in potentially risky situations that could result in sexual assault. The initiative underscores our increased emphasis on education and prevention.

We have appointed a new special investigator in campus safety and security to investigate complaints of sexual assault. In addition, we are implementing recommendations that stemmed from a review of the student judicial process. The reforms focus on increased accountability and strengthen the consequences for students found to have engaged in sexual misconduct.

We know there is more to be done, and we’re committed to forging a strong partnership among students, faculty and staff — everyone needs to be part of the solution. We share the vision of members of our community who aspire to create a campus where the life and work of our students is based on integrity and responsibility, and where the activities we pursue are always respectful of the rights of others.

Charlotte H. Johnson

Dean of the College, Dartmouth College