Change the Johns Hopkins University Sexual Violence Policy
To Kevin Shollenberger, Vice Provost for Student Affairs; Allison J. Boyle and Dorothy Sheppard, Title IX Coordinators; and Susan Boswell, Dean of Student Life:
We, the undersigned members of the Johns Hopkins University, are fortunate to be a part of this institution that has been at the forefront of groundbreaking developments in human safety. However, the University must do more to protect the safety of members of its own community. Toward this effort, the University should take immediate action and reexamine its Sexual Violence Policy. The policy should be modified as follows:
- Provide a comprehensive definition of sexual violence and an exhaustive list of examples of different acts that qualify as such. Without comprehensive and clear examples of sexual violence, victims of certain sexually violent acts may not know to report their incident, and the policy provides too many loopholes for the perpetrators of these acts.
- Include acts of sexual violence that are nonphysical. These might include, among others, the non-consensual photographing or recording of a sexual activity; the non-consensual distributing of this documentation; prostituting another person; engaging in voyeurism; and allowing a third party to observe a sexual activity without consent. It is imperative that victims of all sexually violence acts be protected under University policy.
- Delineate the range of sanctions warranted by different acts of sexual violence. Victims might not press charges without reasonable assurance that the assailant would receive more than a slap on the wrist as a sanction, and the University must ensure that sexual violence is treated not as an infringement but as a violent crime.
Require that the perpetrator move residences and change courses, should the victim request these
arrangements. This should occur following an investigation by the University or police. Currently, the policy requires that the victim be the one to
- Change the procedure whereby offices of the dean of the appropriate academic division process disciplinary actions against faculty members. In the event that a faculty member perpetrates an act of sexual violence, his or her departmental or divisional colleagues should not be in charge of processing his or her penalty.
- Adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual violence.