Change the University of Tulsa’s Policies on Sexual Assault

Change the University of Tulsa’s Policies on Sexual Assault

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Sarah Marshall started this petition to President of The University of Tulsa Brad Carson and

The University lost my case, ignored me, lied to me, did not inform the man who sexually assaulted me of his sanctions, and as of yet, has not had an investigation or given any explanation to how this happened. I have felt alone in this process for months. After a news story and posting some voice memos outlining the school’s issues, people have asked how they can help. I am presenting these changes to the new President on Thursday and hope he makes serious changes to the University’s outlook on sexual assault. A signature shows your support and helps the University see that you care. Thanks for your support. 

Link to News Story: https://ktul.com/news/local/tu-student-calls-out-university-for-poor-handling-of-sexual-assault-claim

Links to title IX Director Meeting: Part 1 - https://www.instagram.com/tv/CQAnxV6gN1D/?utm_medium=copy_link ; Part 2 - https://www.instagram.com/tv/CQAoEibgBCI/


POLICIES TO ENACT / CHANGES TO BE MADE

1. The University should hire an investigator who is not associated with the University of Tulsa in any way to look through Title IX cases from the past five years to make sure there are no ongoing patterns, see what has gone wrong, and make sure no other survivors have “fallen through the cracks” as I did.   

Upon listening to the voice memo containing my conversation with Matt Warren, it is evident that the University cannot investigate this matter properly.  While he says federal law dictates all sexual assaults are tracked, and that he knows the amount of cases at TU, he also says my case would not have been found if I hadn’t reached out and that it was not filed. As I said in the conversation, there is no way to know if there are no files. He also said that the University is not going through all of the paper files. Students have lost trust in this administration and its ability to handle these cases. To show that there is transparency in this process, that students should trust the reporting process, and that the University is committed to righting these wrongs, it should ask an outside investigator to look through these cases.

2. From the results of this investigation, the University should (1) make a statement as to what has gone wrong; and (2) formulate a strategic plan as to what it will do to address any and all problems regarding Title IX. This plan should be sent out to the student body with biannual updates to any ongoing changes. 

This is clearly under the assumption an issue is found, which is likely based on my case alone. If there is no apology, there is no accountability. The students should hear that the University understands it has done wrong by students and make sure students know that under new administration, these actions will be addressed. 
I have been told that things will be changed, but not how. I have, rightfully, lost trust and faith in this Administration. Promises to do things such as “input files” mean nothing after what I have been told. I, like other students, want to have a timeline, a detailed process of what will occur, and who will be doing it. For the University to earn trust back from students, it must show why we should trust it again. This simply won’t happen unless students are given updates and standards that will hold the Administration accountable to their promises. 

3. The University should publicly apologize for its mistakes.

If it is committed to survivors and committed to earning back trust of students, this is necessary.  We deserve an apology. 

4. The University should define in the student handbook the exact punishment for those who do not complete their sanctions and make sure any parties who mediate are fully aware of this punishment. This punishment should be expulsion for sanctions regarding any sort of violent act, as it clearly shows the student disregards the University’s rules and the safety of others. 

While I have been told there will be recordings “when possible” now, it does not change that I was promised different things that did not happen. The handbook is extremely vague when it comes to what will happen if students do not complete their sanctions. While it does say this is a violation of the student code of conduct, it does not state the punishment and it should. When a student agrees to mediation or a trial of peers, as done with violent offenses such as sexual assault, they should agree that expulsion is the result of non-completion. Alleged perpetrators have a right to counsel, a right to refuse mediation, and a right to withdraw. This is not an unfair requirement. Evidently from my case, not all students take these sanctions seriously. There is no place for violent offenders on our campus. We deserve to feel safe. There should be a zero policy for violent offenders who fail to complete sanctions in a timely manner. If, as in my case, there is some sort of mishap in communication of how to complete these sanctions, the offender, as an adult, should be expected to reach out in a timely manner. Any policy otherwise is clear disregard for victims of these crimes.  

5. The University should state in the handbook specifically that if sanctions are put in place, the University should give every party involved the option to be informed in a timely manner as to whether the sanctions are completed or not.


A victim should not have to inquire as to whether these sanctions are complete. At the date of completion agreed upon, the parties should immediately be informed as to whether or not they were completed. Otherwise, it is either (a) now a burden on the survivor to reach out and inquire as to whether or not they completed; and/or (b) forces parties to blindly trust the University will make sure these sanctions are completed. 
I understand that this process is difficult, and some survivors may not want to be retraumatized by an email addressing their perpetrator. Thus, there should always be an option to be updated on completion or noncompletion, but survivors should have the ability to opt-out if they so choose. 

6. The University should immediately take disciplinary action if sanctions aren’t completed by the agreed-upon date. This should occur regardless of what part of the semester the deadline falls in, graduation dates, lack of responses from the offending party, or any other excuse. 


In my case, I was told the hearing was delayed first, because my sanctions were not recorded. Second, because it was discovered around finals. Third, because my perpetrator was not responding to emails. This is not acceptable. If a student chooses not to respond, a disciplinary hearing should be carried out after a predetermined time. This is a choice, and survivors should not be punished by delays because a perpetrator - a college-educated adult - chooses to ignore a person of authority at the University. Additionally, the University has options on when to set completion dates. If there are conflicts around these, such as finals, it is its’ responsibility to choose a different date of completion. 

7. If sanctions are not completed, survivors should be able to choose to stay informed when the punishment from (4) is carried out. 


Since, like stated in (4), a perpetrator has the ability to obtain counsel, refuse mediation, and option to take the case to “trial,” they should also be obligated to sign a waiver stating they give up their ability to block survivors from finding out this punishment. Of course, the legality of this would need to be analyzed. The University should investigate whether this is possible. Like I said, there should be a zero policy for violent offenders’ non-completion of sanctions. However, a simple email stating “we uphold what we have outlined in the handbook” would suffice if a survivor chooses to be updated. 

8. The University should create a Title IX advisory board made up of students.


If there is no student input, the University is failing to make their voices heard. The University will never fully understand a student’s perspective without direct input from those who are a part of the student community. 

9. The University should make sure all staff is committed to the school’s students. Anyone who is not should be terminated; this includes Dr. Dare Chronister. 


I understand Dare Chronister has now resigned. However, staff like Leah Asbury, Matt Warren, and Dare Chronister were clearly not committed to sexual assault survivors or students. There needs to be a clear vetting process, that could even include a student vote and panels. These people directly impact how students are treated. We should have a say in whether they are worthy to have that opportunity, and the last hires have not met our expectations as students. 

10. The University should take an anonymous survey bi-annually for feedback on the Dean’s office and the Title IX office.

Many students have had issues with Dr. Dare and Leah Asbury and there was no real place to file a complaint. Anonymity should help students voice these concerns.
While there are some reporting platforms, they are not well-known. Additionally, many students do not know the different names of these people or are worried of backlash. This should be made easy. An email is a simple way to do this and shows the University values student opinions. 

11. The University should implement the use of Callisto, an app that serves as a reporting platform and sexual assault prevention platform.

It is important the school realizes it has lost trust from many students who are in need of other resources. Callisto is a nonprofit organization made by survivors of sexual assaults to help sexual assault survivors. As someone familiar with the reporting process if a survivor chooses to contact the police department and pursue criminal charges, there are certain things a victim of sexual assault should know. This includes, but is not limited to: the option for a free SANE exam; the importance of taking pictures of injuries; the importance of documentation; the importance of clarity. A SANE exam is a free exam that will document what has happened, a free pregnancy prevention pill, free STD preventatives, resources for support, and the documentation of any physical evidence including semen, saliva, injuries, an internal exam or external exam, and any other relevant issues. These exams can be done without reporting to the police and can make a large difference in evidence available to a prosecutor. If a survivor wishes not to do a SANE exam, it gives them a place to document exactly what happened, or “create a record.” This helps survivors if they decide to take legal action in the future. Additionally, it has a matching system that will “detect repeat offenders of sexual assault,” which often impacts the likelihood of reports and the safety of students. This information is encrypted and securely secured, allows a “match” when more than two survivors identify the same offener and gives survivors legal options to confidentially explain what they can do next. Lastly, it can connect survivors to resources, like how to: report the incident; actions to consider; resources to talk to someone; how to practice self-care; how to help a friend; how to understand different definitions related to sexual violence. It also can give colleges “useful high-level information, such as whether there is a large number of complaints during school breaks or around a specific campus location.” While the University gives some guidance, like stated, not all students trust the university, and some have no idea these resources are available. Caring about students means connecting them to as many resources as possible to keep them safe.
The following organizations have partnered or are considering partnership with Callisto: the Student Association at Syracuse University; the University of Arkansas; the University of Washington; Central College; The University of Oregon. As of December 6, 2017, there were 12 campuses utilizing this app with a total of 149,000 students.

Note: I have not included some policies that I understand to be now implemented. This includes: 

- Holds on transcripts for those who are found to have not or do not comply with sanctions;
- Standards for timely responses 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!