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Advising group will determine aim, precise meaning of Board of Visitors’ zero tolerance policy

Students, faculty, administrators will decide how zero tolerance is applied

The Board of Visitors unanimously passed a zero-tolerance policy on sexual assault during an emergency session held Nov. 25 in response to the Rolling Stone article detailing the gang rape of a then-first-year student Jackie at a party at Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Board member Helen Dragas proposed the zero-tolerance policy.

“A lot of us on the Board were shocked to learn of this problem and how poorly it had been addressed to date,” Dragas said in an email. “We need a concrete action plan and a permanent culture change on campus. Anything less will be a failure.”

The zero-tolerance policy means that once data is received from outside investigators, the Board will direct the administration in making changes, Dragas said. Leaders of the Board have the authority under the Board Manual to impose appropriate penalties, including expulsion.

“I think the tone at the top is critical and all leaders need to commit to zero-tolerance,” Dragas said. “We need every student and every staff and faculty member to embrace a mindset of zero-tolerance. And students need to feel 100 percent supported when they come forward.”

A committee of students, Board members, legal counsel and administrators will meet in the coming weeks to compile policy recommendations for next semester.

University spokesperson McGregor McCance said these recommendations will come in the near future.

“The details of the Board’s zero-tolerance approach and how it is articulated and implemented will be refined in the near term in collaboration with the University administration,” McCance said in an email.

The Board of Visitors’ full statement on sexual assault can be found here.


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