Letter to the editor: Boren responds to proposed assault policy
I have been very puzzled by recent portrayals in The Daily of my position in regard to sexual-misconduct policies including those on sexual assault. It is as if someone wants to create a difference of opinion where none exists.
To date, no one has personally sought to schedule an appointment to meet with me on this issue. At my request, Jordan Ward sent to me a series of suggestions for improving our policies. They are excellent, and I intend to see that they are given serious consideration.
As Ward points out, changing the time for filing student complaints is only one of the needed changes. A comprehensive approach is needed.
While my initial suggestion was to follow the 180 days guideline provided by the Federal Office of Civil Rights to file complaints, I am fully agreeable to extend the time in my proposal to the OU Regents to one year from the date of discovery.
It must be remembered that the student code only provides one avenue of relief and is limited to the maximum penalty of expulsion of the guilty party.
To obtain civil damages, the victim has two years under state law to file a court action. To obtain criminal prosecution, it’s necessary to file charges and the statute of limitations is 12 years. Often the university must take care not to do anything that could undermine criminal prosecutors.
The OU Equal Employment Opportunity Office can also act upon student, faculty or staff complaints.
In addition, the Women’s Outreach Center provides a myriad of services to those who are victims of sexual-misconduct.
More educational services, better investigative processes and additional training of police officers should all be part of any comprehensive plan.
While we will move forward to change the time frame on sexual-misconduct complaints, I will also appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations to me for a full, comprehensive policy and program.
The committee, which will have student representation, will report back to me by the end of the summer so that we can take action early in the fall semester. OU should seek to be a national leader in this effort.
— David Boren, OU President