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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Rights and responsibilities need to be read

Published: September 27, 2013
Section: Editorials

On Sept. 20, Jamele Adams sent the 2013-2014 copy of Student Rights and Responsibilities to the entire campus. While some updates were minor wording changes, we commend the university on the creation of the position of Sexual Assault and Prevention Services Specialist.

The description, in Section 3, is written as follows: “The position of Sexual Assault and Prevention Services Specialist will join the Brandeis Community in the autumn of 2013. This role will provide services to survivors and to coordinate prevention efforts in the campus community. In the role of Sexual Assault Services & Prevention Specialist this person will coordinate advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking, complying with the VAWA Federal Campus Security Act and Title IX regulations, serving as a liaison to student organizations, and conducting outreach and education events to promote a healthy campus environment.”

After multiple allegations of sexual assault cases at Brandeis in the past few years, along with two assaults reported in th
e police log this semester, it is the administration’s duty to increase support services and awareness on campus.

We are especially pleased with the clause that mandates that the Specialist conduct “outreach and education events to promote a healthy campus environment.” Some students may not know what constitutes an assault, which can perpetuate harmful stereotypes or cause victims not to seek help and support.

While we applaud the university for their proactive additions to Rights and Responsibilities, we do have some reservations concerning the document in general. Some parts could be summarized and consolidated, such that students might be more likely to actually read it. If administrators are to continually expand the document, it could become too unwieldy to actually remain relevant to students. If the Brandeis community is to be well informed of their expectations as well as the standard of conduct to which the university hold them to, it is key that this document remain concise and accessible.

Overall, however, we believe that Brandeis Rights and Responsibilities is an ideal platform from which the administration can take a proactive stance against sexual assault. We look forward to the appointment of the Prevention Service Specialist, who will hopefully take full advantage of the mandate that the university has bestowed upon that position.