OSAC Response to President Veitch’s May 1st Sexual Assault Update to Occidental College
President Veitch’s May 1st letter to the campus community outlined a number of steps his Administration has recently taken, as well as steps they plan to take and recommendations from two lawyers, Gina Smith and Leslie Gomez of Pepper Law, hired by the Administration to address the federal complaints filed by OSAC. This memo is a side-by-side comparison of each step/recommendation from the May 1st letter and the 87-point evaluation Matrix/12 Demands produced by the Oxy Sexual Assault Coalition (OSAC). Of the 17 actions/recommendations from the President/two attorneys, 16 were previously proposed by OSAC (with the exception of the recommendation to expand the number of Deputy Title IX Coordinators).
A number of vital components are missing from President Veitch’s letter and the attorneys’ recommendations. First, the President offers no convincing argument as to why promises will now be upheld as they have not been in the past. Secondly, specific policy changes are also loudly absent from this document (e.g., a return to zero tolerance and verbal consent), as well as a timeline for implementing these specific changes. Thirdly, as has been made abundantly clear to the President, Occidental College can have the best sexual assault policies and procedures in the nation, but if the administrators responsible for upholding them cannot or will not do so (as has been demonstrated by the Dean of Student’s direct role in violating federal law), these policies and procedures will be meaningless.
Put simply, without the proper personnel changes and recommendations, Oxy will be unable to adequately address sexual assault issues on campus in any real or meaningful way. We are in a moment of crisis and we need immediate and effective change to repair the immense damage key administrators have wreaked on our students and our campus.
The Administration has already spent approximately $60,000 on two attorneys, and countless resources putting a positive spin on the Administration’s actions, instead of simply upholding promises previously made to the campus community. While OSAC is supportive of every genuine move forward in the fight against sexual assault on our campus, many of these actions have previously been promised, and we will maintain pressure until substantial change is actually enacted.
Below is a point-by-point analysis of the recommendations put forth in President Veitch’s May 1st, 2013 letter and in the recommendations made by the two attorneys hired by the Administration.