Chancellor Douglas Girod told Student Senate leaders in an email that he does not agree with creating another task force to investigate sexual assault on campus.
In the email, Girod said the University’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence grew stronger through different policy changes and the creation of the Sexual Assault and Prevention Center, ever since former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little created a task force in 2014.
“I appreciate that you have highlighted the sobering statistics regarding sexual violence,” Girod said in the email. “As a chancellor, physician and father, I think about this topic every day. Addressing sexual violence remains a priority at KU, and we are always improving our efforts.”
Girod’s response comes nearly two months after Grant Daily, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences senator and Senate’s former government relations director, introduced legislation asking Girod to reinstate a task force to investigate sexual assault on campus. Daily’s legislation was a response to high national rates of sexual assault for women and a lack of transparency in how the University handles sexual violence.
Although the resolution passed in December 2019, Daily said Girod only received it a week ago.
Another resolution from Daily calling for Student Senate to review the state of sexual violence at the University of Kansas passed through Senate’s University Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Daily said he is encouraged that Girod responded to his resolution, but his response doesn’t change the prevalence of sexual assault at the University. In the coming days, Daily said he will consider whether he will try to pass the resolution to create an ad hoc committee or not after Girod’s response.
“I am thankful for the Chancellor’s Office, that he treated us with the dignity to give us a response, but at the same time, these issues are still here,” Daily said. “It’s our job as student leaders to acknowledge the issues and try to do something about them.”
Daily’s original resolution stipulated that Senate would create an ad hoc committee if Girod chose not to make a new task force.
In his email, Girod also pointed to 15 initiatives the University has taken on to help address and prevent sexual assault, including gender-based violence prevention seminars, hiring a new sexual assault and prevention center director and participating in a sexual assault climate survey.
“This University was flawed far before I got here and it won’t be rectified by the time I leave,” Daily said. “There’s absolutely no reason that we can’t take strides in helping people.”