Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels today announced a series of initiatives in conjunction with the university's release of campus crime statistics for 2013. The initiatives are designed to improve the university's response to sexual violence and to ensure that complete, accurate, and timely information is made available when crimes are reported on campus or nearby.
President Daniels also said that the university should have issued a "timely warning" when it received a report of an off-campus sexual assault in March 2013 and should have included the incident in its daily crime log. The incident is included in the university's 2013 report. Daniels reaffirmed "the university's commitment to the safety and well-being of all members of the Johns Hopkins community—a commitment that includes preventing sexual violence; offering support to victims; dealing firmly and fairly with alleged offenders; and keeping students, faculty, and staff informed of crimes that represent a threat to our community."
The following is the full text of Daniels' message.
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
In August I wrote to you about the pressing challenge we face to address the risk of sexual violence at Johns Hopkins. Today we are filing our Annual Security Report for 2013, a requirement under the Clery Act to provide accurate and complete information about crime on or near our campuses.
I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm the University's commitment to the safety and well-being of all members of the Johns Hopkins community—a commitment that includes preventing sexual violence; offering support to victims; dealing firmly and fairly with alleged offenders; and keeping students, faculty, and staff informed of crimes that represent a threat to our community.
I also want to bring to your attention that the Annual Security Report includes an alleged sexual assault at the Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) house in March 2013. The University's handling of the Pike house incident was the subject of an independent assessment commissioned last spring. We have concluded that the University should have recorded the incident in our Daily Crime Log and should have issued a timely warning to the community soon after the incident occurred. The University's failure to have done so is unacceptable, and we are determined that this kind of mistake not happen again.
To improve our response to reports of sexual violence, we have taken several important steps, including:
- Creating a dedicated Clery Compliance Administrator.
- Increasing our expertise, resources, and capabilities across all University offices with responsibilities in this area.
- Centralizing responsibility and strengthening policies and procedures for the issuance of timely warnings and other security notifications, to ensure that our community is given clear and consistent crime-related information to protect personal safety.
- Establishing a rapid response team to consult on timely warning decisions, including Campus Safety, Student Affairs, the Office of the General Counsel, the Chief Risk Officer, and the Title IX Coordinator in our Office of Institutional Equity.
We also carefully reviewed media accounts about the University's handling of concerns raised by an unnamed sexual assault victim, referred to in the news media as Jane Doe. We have not been able to confirm those accounts, but we encourage any students with concerns about their rights and options under Title IX to contact the University's Title IX Coordinator. We welcome and will examine fully any additional information brought to our attention. We have strengthened our processes for providing immediate resources to a student in crisis and to ensure that we respond to incidents of sexual violence expeditiously, fairly and sensitively.
Among the steps we are taking are:
- Developing a JHU Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Website, announced by the Provost and launched in July 2014 with the input of our students.
- Activating the University-wide JHU Sexual Assault Helpline as a 24/7 confidential resource available to all students.
- Creating the position of victim's advocate and enhancing the resources that we apply to student services and education in this area.
- Establishing a standing Sexual Violence Advisory Committee of students, faculty and staff, to provide community input and advice on matters pertaining to education, training, and prevention, policies and procedures, and community engagement.
- Forming a leadership-level Title IX working group to provide ongoing review of policies, practices, procedures, and programming relevant to sexual misconduct.
- Revising the University's policies and procedures governing sexual and relationship-based violence in light of the University's experience, the Campus SaVE Act, and recent guidance from the Department of Education and the White House.
These initial actions reflect the imperative we place on addressing sexual violence across our campuses. There is more work to be done, and we know well that solutions to such a persistent challenge will have a lasting impact only if they reflect the voices and perspectives of our community, and most especially our students.
We invite your feedback and welcome your participation as we work together to ensure a Johns Hopkins that is safe, supportive, and free of sexual violence.
Ronald J. Daniels
Posted in University News