Dear members of the Emerson community,
I would like to thank the students, faculty and staff who served on the Presidential Working Group (PWG), led by co-chairs Amy Ansell and Jan Roberts-Breslin, for their extraordinary commitment to developing findings and recommendations regarding the College’s sexual misconduct prevention and response ecosystem at Emerson College. Their work was challenging and complex, which they met with tremendous dedication and resolve. I have reviewed the final report and recommendations, and believe we have the knowledge and expertise to engage in continuous improvement of the College’s prevention and response processes and programs. Members of the community can view the report in its entirety on emerson.edu.
I am pleased to share that a number of positive actions have already taken place that are in alignment with the PWG’s recommendations:
- Training and education about power-based interpersonal violence (PBIV) and the College’s PBIV policy has been expanded to better reach new undergraduate and graduate students.
- A list of definitions has been created and added to the PBIV policy to ensure that those reviewing the policy have an accessible means of understanding the range of legal and procedural terms in the policy.
- Flowcharts that outline and simplify informal and formal resolution processes have been developed, are currently in use, and are available on the Access, Equity, & Title IX website.
- The new PBIV policy outlines with more precision expected timeframes throughout the process. Access, Equity, & Title IX continues to make it their practice to provide ongoing and regular updates to those involved in resolution processes.
- Although options for informal processes have always been available, the College’s new PBIV policy specifically details the range of informal options that are available as well as how those options can be accessed.
The Standing Committee as defined in the recommendations should meet within the month to begin discussion of recommendations not yet addressed as well as any related implications that may stem from potential shifts in the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX regulations under the Biden administration. The Standing Committee should plan to update the community on their work at the end of the spring semester.
With the conclusion of the PWG’s work and the actions that have been taken thus far, our community moves closer to achieving what we all aspire to create: an environment that empowers individuals to come forward to report incidents that are antithetical to Emerson’s values—and a process for addressing these instances that is fair and equitable for all.