On Monday Feb. 28, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Life Brandi Hephner LaBanc updated UMass Amherst students via email on recent university efforts to prevent sexual assault and to support survivors.
The email began with a review of the Survivor’s Bill of Rights, which was implemented at the end of the fall 2021 semester. The bill has been an ongoing effort of the Student Government Association since 2015.
“The Survivor’s Bill of Rights ensures that support systems and resources are available to any student who experiences the trauma of sexual assault even if they choose not to formally report the incident,” said LaBanc.
The bill is posted on the Title IX website and will be updated as necessary to respond to students’ needs and to adhere to federal and state law.
The email also updated students on sorority and fraternity training. The university retained the services of The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) to provide a series of trainings addressing sexual misconduct awareness/prevention, gender and sexual norms, survivor support and bystander intervention.
In the final section, LaBanc announced that the university will work with the Comprehensive Investigations and Consulting (CIC) to investigate reports of sexual misconduct during the past seven years.
All reports filed since September 2014 involving, “sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, or other gender-based offenses,” will be reviewed and analyzed with legal, investigative and advisory insight.
Using these findings, the CIC will make recommendations on, “how to enhance sexual assault prevention efforts, increase reporting of offenses, and promote a culture of transparency, communication and safety for the UMass Amherst community,” the email read.
LaBanc thanked students for their commitment to the university and to one another. “By coming together to address these difficult issues, collectively we are fostering a living and learning community defined by mutual respect and dignity,” said LaBanc