A resolution to request Chancellor Douglas Girod create a task force to investigate sexual assault on campus passed in the Student Senate Student Rights Committee Wednesday night.
Student senators drafted the resolution due to high national rates of sexual assault for women, and a lack of transparency regarding how the University handles sexual violence, according to the bill.
Government Relations Director Grant Daily introduced the resolution in order to address sexual violence at the University of Kansas.
“Last year was a really motivating year for me because there were people in my life who faced sexual violence,” Daily said. “It’s unfortunate when you feel driven to do something off of close proximity to yourself, but ever since last year it’s been in the back of my mind.”
An increase in sexual assault on campus was reported by the University of Kansas’ Annual Security Report for 2018.
A sexual assault task force was created by former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in September 2014 to review the University’s policies and procedures in cases of sexual assault. The task force released a final report in April 2015 with 27 recommendations intended to strengthen and refine policies for sexual assault.
Gray-Little’s task force report included recommendations to provide more information and data of sexual assault and encourage reporting of sexual assault.
“If there was a task force once in the past that was supposed to look at how to stop these things or look at why numbers are so high and we still have these problems years later, I think it’s important to revisit that and see what the University did and did not do,” said Student Body President Tiara Floyd.
Gray-Little’s task force resulted in required sexual harassment training for students and the creation of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center.
“The goal of doing this would be to hopefully come up with more solutions to prevent sexual violence on campus,” Daily said in the meeting. “That’s a really lofty goal, so I don’t know if we should measure it in miles or pins and needles, but I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t be proactive as a student body.”
Daily said he hopes to send the request to the chancellor by the beginning of the spring semester. According to the resolution, if Girod does not choose to make a new task force, Senate will create an ad hoc committee to investigate sexual assault on campus.
“I hope we don’t have to,” Daily said of an ad hoc committee. “If the University doesn’t come out and establish a task force themselves to really respond and update policies and ultimately change the status quo, then students will have to be more involved.”
The resolution will go to Full Senate on Dec. 4.