The University Senate is moving forward with its review of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault.
The review, which was announced at the first plenary of the semester on Friday, will focus on the committee’s membership, its nomination process, and decision-making process.
The senate’s executive committee will work with the Commission on the Status of Women and the Student Affairs Committee to execute the review.
“The Student Affairs Committee is currently considering modifications to PACSA, including increasing student representation, which the president supports,” Akshay Shah, SEAS ’14 and the co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee, said. “We hope to introduce a resolution at the next plenary, codifying these changes.”
Sharyn O’Halloran, the chair of the Senate’s Executive Committee, said that it was important to include the University committee in the review process.
“We’ll be also looking at the possibility of holding town hall meetings to get the sense of a community with regard to these issues, across not only undergraduate but also graduate populations,” O’Halloran said.
“These are going to be the first initial steps that we will be taking, but we are also going to be looking and trying to find other ways in which we can actually address this issue,” she added.
The Student Affairs Committee released a statement last week following the publication of a Blue and White article detailing students’ experiences with the adjudication process, calling for the release of data, town halls, and increased transparency with regard to PACSA.
PACSA’s membership and proceedings are not made publicly available. This semester, PACSA’s meetings have stalled after its chair, Jeff Scott—who had also been executive vice president for Student and Administrative Services—departed at the beginning of the semester.
In response to the Student Affairs Committee statement, University President Lee Bollinger released a statement announcing that data would be released by the end of the semester and that he fully supports the University Senate’s review of PACSA.
“Such a review could usefully encompass the charge of PACSA, the composition of its membership (particularly with respect to expanding student participation), the nominating process employed to name PACSA members, and proposals for greater transparency consistent with PACSA’s mandate and the confidentiality of student records,” Bollinger, who was unable to attend Friday’s plenary, said in the statement.
Shah said on Friday that the Student Affairs Committee was “encouraged by the administration’s significant first steps.”
“We look forward to collaborating with administrators to restore confidence in the adjudication process,” Shah said.
Also at Friday’s plenary, Student Affairs Committee Co-Chair Matt Chou, CC ’14, said that the committee had presented the results of the Quality of Life survey to the board of trustees in December and plans to release a full report by the end of the month.
The Senate also unanimously passed two resolutions to establish a Master of Science in Environmental Health Sciences program at the Mailman School of Public Health and an M.D./Master of Biomedical Science dual degree program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.