Our View: Promptings aside, ASU on right path
At that meeting, Dean of Students J.J. Brown announced the formation of an Interpersonal Violence Task Force to assess, at both a university and national level, the effectiveness of the university's harassment prevention programs.
Following accusations of severe campus sexual violence and a yearlong debate about the effectiveness of ASU's current policies on sexual assault and harassment, the establishment of this committee is promising news.
Unfortunately, given that yearlong debate, we would have hoped that the university would have come to such action on its own — and not as a result of both a complaint resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and a resolution passed by the ASU Student Government Association.
But despite an inauspicious prompting, this task force is poised to effect real and needed change at the university.
It is encouraging that this group is composed not only of university staff members, but also faculty, students and, importantly, a member from a community organization that deals solely with harassment and violence issues. It is also encouraging that in addition to crafting an assessment of the university's current policies and support in a local and national light, it will form short- and long-term strategies, practices and policies regarding interpersonal violence.
In a letter, ASU Chancellor Ken Peacock highlighted the “critical” work of this group.
He could not be more right.
Interpersonal violence in any form is antithetical to the mission of a school of higher learning. Education cannot take place, lives cannot be positively shaped and futures cannot be formed unless a spirit of safety and tolerance is the cultural norm on the ASU campus.