Earlier this summer, several students at Johns Hopkins filed a federal complaint against the university, alleging that the school ignored (at best) or covered up (at worst) an alleged rape committed by members of the Pi Kappa Alpha frat. (The frat has since been suspended for one year.)
That case is still on-going, but it’s encouraging to hear that Johns Hopkins is taking the problem of on-campus sexual assault seriously, forming a new committee and building a website to both prevent sexual assault and support victims. “The committee and website are seen as key steps to enhancing the university’s long-standing commitment to addressing sexual violence, including anti-harassment and anti-assault policies and procedures for investigating and responding to reported incidents of sexual violence,” the JHU Hub wrote — a sentiment that doesn’t exactly jibe with the allegations in the federal complaint, it should be noted.
The new committee will work to come up with strategies for helping students, faculty, and staff learn how to better recognize and report incidents of sexual violence; increase support and advocacy for survivors; and work to ensure a fair and balanced process for any complaints filed. It will also examine a constellation of other factors often related to sexual assault, including violence, gender roles, drugs and alcohol, and social norms.
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