Like college campuses across the country, Vassar has been grappling with issues relating to race, class, anti-Semitism, and sexual assault, as well as continuing tensions stemming from differing viewpoints about the Middle East.
President Catharine Bond Hill has worked with a cross-section of administrators, faculty members, and students—as well as the Committee on Inclusion and Excellence and the Campus Life and Diversity Office—on a campus action plan intended to address these concerns and to ensure that Vassar’s campus is an equitable and supportive environment.
The plan calls for adding one senior-level administrator and appointing two faculty advisors who will examine issues of race and inclusion on campus; it also calls for bolstering student support systems through vital student services offices.
Vassar’s Title IX policies and procedures are annually reviewed, with the most recent review occurring in December 2014. The team of respected national experts noted that Vassar is well ahead of many other colleges and universities in the areas of sexual assault prevention, adjudication, and victim support. The college will continue to review these policies and procedures to ensure a victim-centered approach aimed at eliminating sexual assault while protecting the rights of all parties involved in formal proceedings.
Details on these actions and others are outlined on the new website, Strengthening Vassar, created to keep the community updated on the progress of these initiatives. The recent report and recommendations by campus security consultants Margolis Healy may also be found on the site.
President Hill says that addressing these issues will be a priority as we move into the spring semester and beyond. The Board of Trustees and the AAVC Board of Directors, who have been following the events on campus, will serve as partners in these ongoing efforts. Several members of the Board of Trustees will be on campus this semester to meet with students and others to discuss and learn more about their concerns.