The Ad Hoc Group on University Climate and Culture held its second meeting Monday, Dec. 22. The committee was created in early December as part of an action plan to improve student safety at the University.
The committee, chaired by University President Teresa Sullivan, formed after the publication of the Rolling Stone article documenting an alleged gang rape at a University fraternity house in 2012 — the details of which have been recently called into question — and focuses on the intersection of student culture, sexual assault prevention and survivor support.
Committee member Allison DiNardo, who serves on the University Board of Visitors, said the group works to address ways the administration and Board can work to improve safety around Grounds.
“Our agenda included the creation of working groups within the Ad Hoc Group on University Climate and Culture on prevention, response and culture as well as hearing about ongoing initiatives to address sexual assault issues as shared by President Sullivan,” DiNardo said in an email.
In the wake of the article, Sullivan suspended all Greek organizations and their social activities until Jan. 9. In the meantime, the Inter-Fraternity Council has been tasked with crafting revised fraternal organization agreements — or FOAs — to submit to Sullivan, said IFC President Tommy Reid, a fourth-year College student by Dec. 31.
“[Sullivan] also reported that she should be receiving a draft amended FOA shortly,” DiNardo said.
Committee member Frank Conner, who also serves on the Board, said that the committee's two-hour meeting included presentations from several student groups and leaders, who helped inform committee members about issues pertaining to the IFC, the Inter-Sorority Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Multi-Cultural Greek Council. He said committee members discussed how to best reform not only FOAs, but also agreements with other Contracted Independent Organizations.
“We also heard from the University's consultants who have been retained to assist in the work of the University in this arena," Connor said in an email. "We engaged in a good and robust discussion of the issues presented.”
DiNardo said the committee also discussed the safety challenges which came up at last Friday's Board meeting.
“The Group was glad to hear about the quick action the administration is taking to improving safety all over Grounds as well as working with local law enforcement to make the Corner and other areas where students live and congregate safer, too,” she said.
DiNardo also noted the work a group of students from One in Four, One Less, Student Council, the IFC, ADAPT and the Class of 2018 have put into drafting a document of suggestions titled “Taking Action on Sexual Assault: A Student Perspective.” The document includes proposed policies and practices for the Board, administrators and students.
Conner said that though no significant decisions were made at Monday’s meeting, the committee has already made progress — and will continue to make progress — in its three core areas of focus.
“This is a long process that will be thoughtful and deliberate given what the group is attempting to accomplish," Connor said. "And real progress on that journey was made. President Sullivan is doing a wonderful job in leading this group on its mission.”
The third meeting of the ad hoc committee will be held Jan. 28. The committee plans to meet monthly thereafter.