Collegiate Round Up
University Vows to Change Handling of Sexual Assaults
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 22:10
Emerson College: University Vows to Change Handling of Sexual Assaults
Emerson College has planned significant changes to their sexual assault policies in the wake of several complaints about the college’s handling of cases of sexual assault. Students filed complaints against the college with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Their complaint was that the handling of sexual assault cases by the college was a violation of Title IX, a law for anti-discrimination. In an email to all students of the college, President M. Lee Pelton promised “We can and will do better” in regard to their handling of past sexual assault cases.
The most notable recent mishandled sexual assault case at Emerson was of sophomore Sarah Tedeso, who reported sexual assault by an MIT student and Emerson student during the fall of her freshman year. Emerson administrators reportedly took months to begin an investigation into her assault after she reported it, and a stay-away order was not issued until January. During the course of the investigation, she was sexually assaulted again by the Emerson student, and it was only then that the stay-away order began to be enforced by school officials. This was not the first case of sexual assault to be handled incorrectly by the college. In 2012, another student filed complaints against the school for the handling of her sexual assault case.
Alexa Jackson, the vice president for Emerson’s human resources, said that the college hosted a refresher course for sexual assault investigators within the college communities. RA’ were also trained on response techniques if a sexual assault was reported to them. The college currently is in the process of hiring a full-time sexual assault advocate to deal specifically with cases of sexual assault on campus. These changes are steps the college is making to prevent the future mishandling of sexual assault cases on campus.
Harvard University’s expansion into parts of Allston was approved on Thursday, Oct. 17 by the Boston Redevelopment Authority after many years of project proposals and debate between the city and the university. The proposed 10-year Institutional Master Plan will include 1.9 million square feet of construction and renovation in Allston. Allston already contains the Harvard Business School and athletic complex, which now occupy the land between Western Ave. and the Charles River. The new plan would expand upon the existing athletic complex, add apartment buildings for Harvard students that would also include retail space, and open a hotel on Western Ave. for the public. It would also add a Harvard community hub on Western Ave. The university was forced to make many concessions and compromises with the city of Allston to ensure that both sides were satisfied. Though the BRA has approved the project, each potential section of the plan must be approved individually in the following years as they are more clearly defined.
MIT fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups that have houses located in the city of Boston are not allowed to host events that would violate the limits of their posted residential occupancy until further notice, according to the assistant dean of independent living groups (FSILG’s), Marlena Martinex Love, in an email to student associations that represent the groups on Friday. This announcement comes in the wake of inspections of nine of the houses. Many of the houses were found to have problems with the exit doors of their buildings. This policy affects 19 of MIT’s 27 fraternities, three of six sororities, and two of six independent living groups. The inspections were requested by Boston’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) after an MIT freshman fell through a skylight at a fraternity party on Commonwealth Ave. It is unknown when the city of Boston will complete reviews of the buildings and issue new certificates of inspection that will allow the student organizations to host events without the occupancy restriction.
The Boston University College of Engineering opened a new synthetic biology center this fall to support students who wish to study in this rapidly growing field. The Center of Synthetic Biology, located at 36 Cummington Mall on BU’s campus, will facilitate research by students, support larger-scale projects in synthetic biology, and hold symposiums to bring important researchers in the field to BU’s campus from all over the globe. The center will also help Boston University to compete with other top engineering schools around the world that have synthetic biology centers and make it a top destination for engineering students. Three core faculty members and other professors in the College of Engineering will work with the center’s associate director, Ahmad Khalil, in the coming years to create a synthetic biology curriculum that will function alongside the Center of Synthetic Biology to involve students in the field and bring about new research in the world of biology.