Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan hosted a symposium at Boston College on sexual violence, dating abuse and stalking on college campus. Along with District Attorney Ryan, representatives from law enforcement, college administration and student services provided training and engaged in a panel discussion. More than 100 participants were in attendance, representing nearly 40 colleges and universities, law enforcement and local advocacy organizations.
“With more than 25 colleges and universities across Middlesex County, safety on campus is an extremely important issue,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Colleges must weigh many considerations when developing standards and implementing policies to address student safety. They must determine the best way to educate and protect students while at the same time ensuring that proper procedures are in place to encourage reporting and the thorough investigation of complaints, and to provide victim services when incidents occur.”
“As the chief law enforcement officer of Middlesex County, and as the mother of a college student, I am focused on protecting our young people, many on their own, away from home for the first time. We are pleased to partner with Boston College and so many other wonderful institutions that want to work together because we all, law enforcement and college administrators and ultimately students, benefit from collaboration and share the same objective. Our college campuses should be places where our students feel free and confident to pursue higher learning and engagement because they know we place a high priority on protecting their safety.”
The Reverend Joseph Marchese of Boston College and Newton Mayor Setti Warren opened the conference. Participating in the panel presentation were Attorney Colby Bruno from the Victim Rights Law Center, Attorney Djuna Perkins who specializes in Title IX investigations, Meg Bossong from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and Sarah Rankin, Title IX investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Members of the Boston College staff who joined the panel were John King, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, Dr. Paul Chebator, Dean of Students, and Dr. Katherine O’Dair, Executive Director of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
The focus of the training at Boston College was on raising awareness about the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) which took effect on Friday, March 7, 2014. SaVE is a provision of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) which imposes obligations on colleges and universities relative to the issues of sexual violence, dating abuse and stalking. These obligations may compel colleges and universities to adjust and, in some cases, develop entirely new approaches to victim services, disciplinary proceedings and prevention and education. The training examined these new requirements and the challenges to compliance that colleges and universities face in balancing the mandates of SaVE with other current federal requirements, including Title IX and the Clery Act.
For more than five years, District Attorney Ryan has led a campus partnership initiative which periodically has brought together members of colleges and universities from across the county to share information and resources to address a wide array of safety issues facing students and administrators on college campuses.
- Submitted by DA Ryan’s office