Dartmouth President Calls For Changes In Wake of Federal Sexual Assault Investigation
Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon gave a powerful speech Wednesday night calling for significant changes on campus in light of its high rates of sexual assault, high-risk drinking, and discriminatory social scene.
"Darmouth's promise is being hijacked by high-risk and harmful behaviors, behaviors that are hurting too many of our students, dividing us as a community and distracting from our important work of teaching and learning," Hanlon said. "From dangerous levels of drinking, to sexual assaults, disgusting and sometimes threatening insults posted on the Internet, and parties with racist and sexist undertones, our social scene is too often at odds with our mission and the practices of inclusion our students deserve."
The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is currently investigatingb Dartmouth for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases under Title IX, a law that bans discrimination on the basis of gender, and the Clery Act, which requires cases of sexual assault to be reported to the Department. As recently as February, while the OCR investigation was ongoing, a student whose name appeared in a "rape guide" on a student-run website was sexually assaulted.
Applications to Dartmouth fell 14 percent this year, the steepest drop in two decades, perhaps as a result of the spotlight on its campus sexual assault problem.
To address these issues, President Hanlon announced the creation of a Presidential Steering Committee made up of students, faculty, administration and alumni, that will spend the summer developing solutions. Hanlon strongly encouraged student input, saying this "cannot be viewed as a mandate from the top." Changes have also already begun on campus, including the work of The Dartmouth Bystander Initiative and the newly established Center for Community Action and Prevention to mobilizing the community against sexual assault, and the implementation of a disciplinary policy mandating expulsion for offenders.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .