A report released Wednesday by a committee at Amherst College gives recommendations for administrative and cultural changes to better respond to sexual assault. The report comes after an article published last semester in Amherst’s student newspaper by a former student who alleged she was raped on campus. It shed light on the school’s response to cases of sexual assault.
In its report, the committee acknowledges administrative responses to cases of sexual assault have sometimes been inadequate, but stresses the number of sexual assaults at Amherst are on par with other liberal arts institutions. Professor Margaret Hunt, who chaired the committee, says there have been cases of sexual assault reported to the administration since the article was published in the fall.
“There’s been a lot of attention obviously to making sure these cases are dealt with in a better way.”
Hunt says the committee is recommending that Amherst expand services offered by the school’s counseling center, revisit its alcohol policies, and improve social offerings and gathering spaces. She says ultimately the school must work harder to build an inclusive community.
“That means that we want to be good citizens of this community, we want to have everyone be a part of it, but without being at risk of behaviors that are traumatizing and interfere with their education.”
The college’s Board of Trustees and its President, Biddy Martin, have stated support for the reports findings and recommendations. An open meeting to discuss the report will be held February 5th.