St. Olaf College should protect sexual assault survivors

President David Anderson


St. Olaf college has repeatedly mishandled reports of sexual and dating violence on campus -- including my own.  This is unacceptable: students should never be afraid of sexual violence on campus, and should be able to trust our community for protection and support if it does occur. But St. Olaf has refused to promptly, fairly, or effectively investigate cases and allowed perpetrators to harass survivors and remain on campus. 

I never want another St. Olaf student to go through the painful and traumatic ordeal that the school has put me through. Our group of student survivors and activists is calling on the St. Olaf administration to address these issues by making the policy reforms listed below. If you support survivors and believe that our school should take immediate action to address these issues, please sign and share!

(To learn more about the ways that St. Olaf has failed to address sexual violence reports or read our reforms in more detail, please visit our website here.)

Petition by
Madeline Wilson
Estes Park, Colorado
Sponsored by
Washington, DC

To: President David Anderson
From: [Your Name]

I believe that sexual and dating violence have no place in the St. Olaf community, and am very concerned by recent reports that you have failed to handle sexual and dating violence cases effectively. I urge you to take immediate action, by working with the student survivors and activists to make the important policy changes outlined below.

1) A revised sexual misconduct policy for St. Olaf; this may include but is not limited to:
--a precisely stated requirement for affirmative verbal consent;
--a committee approach to determining outcomes of sexual misconduct cases including regularly trained faculty and staff;
--a clear statement of what outside assistance is permissible for each of the parties involved in a sexual misconduct case;
--the ability to anonymously report sexual misconduct;
--a disciplinary process which imposes appropriately severe sanctions on students found responsible for gender violence, and ensures that survivors are not forced to remain on campus with their assailants;

2) A Title IX coordinator without a conflict of interest such as being the director of mission and who has experience with sexual assault from a non-administrative perspective;

3) Data regarding statistics about crimes reported publically available and easily accessible linked to the sexual misconduct page on the college website;

4) Immediate screening of Title IX team members for rape myth acceptance and implicit identity bias. Use the results of this screening to confirm personnel should be apart of the team, if individuals need remedial training, or if personnel should be "let go" from the team. Use this screening process as part of the selection process for future team members;

5) Better support for victims, including but not limited to:
--mental health professionals incorporated into the process as a resource for both victims’ mental health and adjudicators’ questions about the nature of trauma
--a redesigned website that offers victims a clear, easy-to-read policy and a list of resources instead of obfuscating legal jargon
--regular updates about the progress in a case to keep the victim in the loop
--A source of anonymous reporting used to attempt to gather more accurate statistics of the prevalence of sexual assault on campus