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Originally published: 2013-08-22 21:00:45
Last modified: 2013-08-23 10:41:21

ASU forms interpersonal violence council

by Kellen Short

Appalachian State University has created an Interpersonal Violence Council to piggyback on the work a task force has done during the past year.

Chancellor Kenneth Peacock announced the council Monday in a general meeting of all faculty and staff at the Schaefer Center.

The council will report to the chancellor's office and will be led by Dean of Students J.J. Brown, with the full membership to be announced.

"Let it be on us to make this campus as safe as it can be for all of our faculty, our staff and our students," Peacock said.

Brown said much was still up in the air about the council, including its makeup, but he said he hoped members who previously served on the task force would remain involved.

He estimated that the council would meet quarterly to review best practices from across the nation, consider what ASU is doing for programs and training regarding interpersonal violence prevention, and review existing policies to look for improvements.

"I look forward to in the coming weeks sorting out the details of how we move forward in a new way," Brown said.

The interpersonal violence task force was formed in June 2012 and met monthly from September 2012 through April 2013. The group was required by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights after a female student complained about ASU's handling of a sexual assault allegation in 2011 and 2012.

The complaint capped a year of campuswide uproar after she and another female student reported they were raped and sexually assaulted off campus by ASU football players and one other male student in separate 2011 incidents.

The Office for Civil Rights' agreement with the university required ASU to evaluate its sex-based harassment prevention policies and programs and submit a report to the federal department by April 2013.

It also had to conduct a campus climate survey, which will be repeated every two years.

The task force sent its final report, including eight primary recommendations, to the chancellor July 24, Brown said. The chancellor intends to review the report with his cabinet before deciding which recommendations to act upon, Brown said. The Office of Civil Rights may have additional follow-up questions or requirements, he said.

Brown said the council's work will continue indefinitely.

"I certainly hope it's here to stay," Brown said. "I believe this is a permanent body that will move forward for Appalachian for a long time."