Checklist of Action Taken

Established a special committee to consider all recommendations for enhancing sexual respect, together with other ideas proposed by faculty, students, administration, staff and trustees. Read the committee’s report, Toward a Culture of Respect: The Problem of Sexual Misconduct at Amherst College.

Brought in counselors from Harvard’s McLean Center who are experts in the fields of sexual misconduct and assault policy to hold several walk-in counseling sessions with students and other members of the campus community.

Hired an independent and nationally recognized expert, Gina Maisto Smith, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, to review the College’s Title IX and sexual misconduct policies and practices and provide recommendations. This review is ongoing.

Launched this comprehensive new Sexual Respect website that consolidates resources on sexual respect, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence in one area. It has an action checklist and an online suggestion box.

Authorized the establishment of an anonymous and confidential hotline service.

Launched an internal investigation and review of the response to the first-person account in The Amherst Student, and a comprehensive review of the application of policies and procedures.

Accelerated efforts to ensure that the entire college community is educated about law, policy and appropriate responses to survivors of incidents of sexual misconduct and assault and to ensure that staff, faculty and students are aware of how to protect survivors of sexual assault from experiences that trigger post-traumatic reactions.

Improved the disciplinary process, based on student feedback. For example, alternative testimony options are available for Committee on Discipline hearings, such as Skype, providing students with full access to the hearing process. Also, complainant and respondent have the option of submitting Impact Statements to be considered by the Committee while determining sanctions.

Solicited input from faculty, staff, alumni and students by planning and holding open meetings and gatherings of specific constituencies and through suggestions contributed via email and the Web.

Added student representation on the Title IX Committee and the Sexual Respect Task Force.

Letters to the college community from President Martin and trustees.

Ongoing outreach to identified and affected students as well as the entire student body.

Outreach to local community partners for support.

Presented updates to parents and alumni.

Provided additional support and services during upcoming breaks, such as Thanksgiving.

Internal investigation and review of the response to the first-person account of sexual assault that appeared in The Amherst Student.

In future sexual misconduct cases, a trained investigator will meet with the complainant, respondent, and relevant witnesses; gather evidence; and prepare a report for distribution to the two parties and the Committee. Using an investigator permits a more complete investigation and lessens the burden on the complainant and the respondent in preparing their respective cases.

Added student support in critical areas, such as counseling, to improve support for survivors of sexual assault.

Identifed space for a gender resource center.

Hired two new members to the Counseling Center staff, Laura Fusari, Psychotherapist and Sarah Erickson, Psychotherapist.  

Recruited professional staff from the Five College Consortium  to serve on the campus Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board.  Conducted a comprehensive training for hearing board members on hearing board procedures, common reactions of a survivor of sexual assault and Amherst College's Code of Student Conduct.