HWS faculty plans to meet Monday to discuss sexual assault issue

Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014 5:15 am

By JIM MILLER jmiller@fltimes.com

GENEVA - Hobart and William Smith faculty members plan to meet Monday afternoon to discuss their reaction to the recent New York Times story about an alleged sexual assault on campus and debate how they can help the Colleges community move forward.

“I hope that we will have a vote on a resolution,” said Biology Professor Elizabeth Newell, the faculty’s presiding officer. “Really, the main audience for that resolution is the student body and the alumni. ... It will have to do with looking forward, primarily, where do we head next, affirming the engagement of our students and alumni in a discussion about how to make Hobart and William Smith the best place.”

The meeting is open only to the Colleges community. Newell said all faculty are invited, although many professors are away doing research elsewhere for the summer.

“We hope to get a quorum and talk over what statement we would like to make to our students,” she said.

The New York Times ran a page one story last month about a William Smith freshman, identified only as Anna, who accused three Hobart football players of sexually assaulting her in September.

The Colleges cleared the players, and police filed no charges. However, the story raised questions about the fairness and effectiveness of the Colleges’ on-campus adjudication panels.

Newell said the story left faculty feeling concerned.

“Like anyone who read the New York Times article, faculty were very upset by this,” she said. “There’s a lot of talk about both how are cases handled on campus, and how can we talk about issues of sexual violence with our students and develop a campus where there’d be no instances of sexual assault or rape.”


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