Task force meets to enhance sexual assault prevention and awareness


sexualassaulttaskforceNorthern Illinois University President Doug Baker announced the formation of a presidential task force to build upon the university’s previous work in sexual assault prevention and Clery Act reporting. The task force met for the first time Tuesday.

“As the father of two daughters who were college students, I am personally and professionally committed to making NIU a safe and welcoming place,” Baker said, noting that NIU has instituted many innovative programs such as its bystander intervention campaign as part of a comprehensive effort to combat the national problem of sexual assaults.

The purpose of the task force is to provide recommendations to President Baker regarding the implementation of federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act and the White House Task Force recommendations to protect students from sexual assault.

VAWA was signed into law this spring, and the First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault was subsequently issued. NIU Vice President and General Counsel Jerry Blakemore served on the negotiated rulemaking committee and also provided important important insights into the challenges of addressing sexual misconduct on college campuses to the task force. As a result of this input, the report includes a number of recommended steps universities may take to help identify, respond to and prevent campus sexual violence.

Under VAWA, colleges and universities will institute new reporting requirements including expanding Clery Act reporting categories to include domestic violence, dating violence and stalking; instituting enhanced student discipline procedures; and adopting new institutional policies to address and prevent campus sexual violence.

The task force will develop policy and procedural recommendations that will further enhance NIU’s efforts to prevent sexual assaults, support sexual assault victims and survivors and review and revise relevant policies, disciplinary processes and reporting requirements.

“I am committed to continuing NIU’s participation in this policy discussion at the state and national levels,” added Baker, who last fall supported student efforts to promote sexual assault awareness and prevention through the production of videos.

That commitment is reflected in the make-up of the 20-member task force, which includes the following administrators, faculty and students:

Lesley Rigg, Co-Chair, Vice President for Research & Innovation Partnerships
Eric Weldy, Co-Chair, Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
Megan Sieg, Student Co-Chair
Karen Baker, Title IX Coordinator and Associate Vice President Administration & Human Resources
Monique Bernoudy, Associate Director, Athletics
Brad Bond, Dean of Graduate School and Associate Professor
Raquel Chavez, Federal Relations Intern
Jim Guagliardo, Special Counsel and University Ethics Officer
Brad Hoey, Director, University Marketing
Kelly Wesener Michael, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Anne Kaplan, Vice President, Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development
Jeanne Meyer, Director, Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct
Holly Orcutt, Professor, Psychology
Tom Phillips, Chief of Police
Anna Quider, Director of Federal Relations
Alan Rosenbaum, Executive Secretary of the University Council and Professor of Psychology
Julia Spears, Associate Vice Provost for Engaged Learning
Melanie Tucker, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs
Shana Ware, Victim Advocacy Coordinator
Karen White, Clinical Coordinator, Psychology

The task force will report its recommendations to the president by October 1.