Sexual-Assault Report Released

By Emily Gold Boutilier

[Update] Responses to sexual assault complaints were “quite mixed and at times inadequate” prior to summer 2012. First-year women are most at risk of being raped. Sexual misconduct is not a worse problem at Amherst than it is at other colleges.  

Those are among the conclusions in a Jan. 30 report of the college’s Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which President Biddy Martin formed as one response to Angie Epifano ’14’s published account of being raped on campus.

SMOC Report: Toward a Culture of Respect

Meeting of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct

November 15, 2012

Present were Sarah Barr, Director of Academic Engagement Programs, Center for Community Engagement; Professor Jack Cheney, Associate Dean of the Faculty; Suzanne Coffey, Director of Athletics and Title IX Coordinator; Professor Margaret Hunt (Chair); Marian Matheson, Director of Institutional Research and Planning (of counsel to the committee); Professor Marisa Parham; Dianne Piermattei, Assistant to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees (staff liaison to the committee); Susan Pikor, Chief of Staff, President’s Office, and Secretary of the Board of Trustees; Janet Tobin, Assistant Dean of the Faculty (recorder); and Robert Wasielewski ’14. Andrew Nussbaum ’85, Trustee; Liya Rechtman ’14; and attorneys Gina Smith (an expert on sexual misconduct and assault) and Rachael Keene participated in the meeting via speaker phone. Paula Rauch ’77, Trustee was absent.   The meeting began at 5:00 p.m. and ended at 7:00 p.m.

Professor Hunt and Ms. Matheson reviewed Clery statistics and National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey results for Amherst and a set of peer institutions.  It was noted that the data that are available are limited and imperfect.

Meeting of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct

November 6, 2012

Present were Sarah Barr, Director of Academic Engagement Programs, Center for Community Engagement; Professor Jack Cheney, Associate Dean of the Faculty; Suzanne Coffey, Director of Athletics and Title IX Coordinator ; Professor Margaret Hunt (Chair); Marian Matheson, Director of Institutional Research and Planning (of counsel to the committee); Andrew Nussbaum ’85, Trustee;  Professor Marisa Parham; Dianne Piermattei, Assistant to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees (staff liaison to the committee); Susan Pikor, Chief of Staff, President’s Office, and Secretary of the Board of Trustees; Liya Rechtman ’14; Janet Tobin, Assistant Dean of the Faculty (recorder). Robert Wasielewski ’14 and Paula Rauch ’77, Trustee, were absent. The meeting began at 3:30 p.m. and ended at 5:20 p.m.

Professor Hunt thanked those assembled for agreeing to be a part of the important work of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct (SMOC). Focusing on the future and asking the question “what can we do better?” will be a signature of the committee’s approach.

Sexual Respect Committees