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Community letter from President Hill, Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dear members of the Vassar community,

Last spring Vassar students were given the opportunity to participate in a survey focused on Title IX issues, specifically sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus. I am very grateful that so many of our students were willing to share their experiences and perspectives.  This information is invaluable as we redouble our work on campus to prevent and respond to all forms of sexual misconduct or assault.  No level of sexual violence is acceptable at Vassar, and we must do everything in our power to eradicate it.  Your help with this survey was significant in providing us with a baseline from which we can continuously improve.

It is clear from what students have shared that we have compelling work ahead of us.  Many people at Vassar already have been committed to educating the community about sexual violence and working to prevent it. However, we continue to face serious issues. We will now focus on identifying and implementing additional steps to insure more awareness and agency for our students and others in our community.

We will present key survey findings at open campus meetings early next month:  Monday, February 1, at 7-8:30 pm in Rocky 300, and Thursday, February 4, in Rocky 300, at 5:30-7 pm. Additionally, shorter presentations will be made to the Vassar Student Association (VSA) on Sunday, January 31, and at the administrative forum and the faculty meeting on Wednesday, February 3.

Please find posted here a summary of important findings from the survey, as well as related information.  The full report of the findings will be posted in February, as soon as all of the statistical analysis is completed. We will notify the community by email when that posting is available.

In closing, I would like to thank the Survey Oversight Group, which worked to develop the survey instrument with a number of other colleges in our region, and to undertake the analysis of the Vassar findings.  That group includes:

David Davis-Van Atta, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment; Rachel Pereira, Director of Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action/Title IX Coordinator; Kelly Grab, Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action/Title IX Investigator; Charlotte Strauss Swanson, Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention (SAVP) Coordinator; and Hannah Matsunaga ‘16, VSA Vice President for Student Life (2014-15).

Former members and other contributors include Renee Pabst, Director of Health Education; Julian Williams, former Director of Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action/Title IX Officer; and Claire Ashley ‘15, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow for the Office of Institutional Research.

It will take all of our efforts to reach our goal.  I hope you will join us at one of the campus presentations. And I thank you for your own dedication to making this a campus safe from sexual violence.

Sincerely,

Catharine Hill
President