Discourse / Editorials / May 28, 2014

Thoughts from the Embers: Keep your end of the bargain

The dust has settled from the walkout and the grievances have been aired, the Embersadministration has assured this editorial board that the concerns of the student body have been heard.

In the midst of our transition this editorial board received a request from President Teresa Amott. This request was to hold a meeting between several key administrators and ourselves, in a similar fashion to the discussion held with the Diversity Initiative organizers prior to the student walk-out. We thought it only fair.

Our purpose as a publication is to facilitate communication. Having given student organizers a forum to air their grievances we would not in turn deny the same treatment to the administration.

During our meeting they responded to our questions concerning the main grievances addressed during the student walk-out. The concerns we focused on were transparency in sexual assault cases and counseling services.

We were pleased to hear that the release of outcomes of sexual assault proceedings has been discussed within the administration.

Amott along with Associate Dean of the College and Lead Title IX Coordinator Lori Schroeder relayed that they have no problem releasing aggregate sets of the outcomes of such proceedings. They proposed that at the end of every year they release a data set containing the total number of any given outcome, whether it be suspension, dismissal from campus or otherwise.

We support the release of aggregate data in the interest of privacy, as a case-by-case system would put both parties’ anonymity in jeopardy. However, we also believe that the student body should be made aware of these outcomes on a term-by-term basis as opposed to yearly.

Students leave campus every term for a number of reasons. Without prior knowledge of the identity of the defendant it would be difficult for the student body at large to identify the individual involved.

We were also pleased to learn that the college is seeking an additional counselor trained in sexual assault cases.

Considering the number of students who claimed that they had not been seen promptly in cases where they needed counseling services we must ask if one counselor is sufficient.

The counseling center as it stands cannot accommodate the number of counselors necessary to satisfy the needs of the student body.

A renovated Alumni Hall and the future art building will satisfy spatial constraints from an academic standpoint. We urge the college not to ignore student resources as space becomes even more of a premium.

Despite our feelings about the specific details of their proposed solutions we came away from the meeting with the understanding that the administration is trying.

We, as students, must remember to continue to do the same.

Amott relayed the fact that the OCR had difficulties filling focus groups during their recent visit. If we demand to be heard we must be home when someone comes knocking at our door.

Additionally we must make better use of the access we have to the administration currently. Whether through TKS itself, in the form of a letter to the editor or op-ed column, Student Senate representatives who sit in on various faculty committees or our elected class officers, we must continue to make our voice heard.

TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  diversity initiative sexual assault student walkout Teresa Amott

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