Print

Print


	*Office of the Vice President*

	September 20, 2012


TO:Members of the UVM Community

FROM:Tom Gustafson, Vice President for University Relations and Campus Life

Annie Stevens, Associate Vice President for University Relations and 
Campus Life

RE:Update on Status of Sigma Phi Epsilon and Recommendations from the

Gender-based Sexual Violence Task Force, Commission on Social Change

With the concurrence of President Tom Sullivan, we are providing an 
update on the status of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the 
recommendations formulated last spring semester by the Gender-based and 
Sexual Violence Task Force of the Commission on Social Change.

*Sigma Phi Epsilon.*The University has concluded its investigation of 
the circumstances related to an entirely inappropriate question that was 
added to an individual copy of a questionnaire. After an exhaustive and 
thorough review of all available information, the conclusion of this 
investigation is that Sig Ep as an organization was not found 
responsible for the placement of that question on the document and did 
not violate any University policy in that regard.  In the course of 
gathering information, however, additional facts arose about an 
unrelated matter that may result in action against Sig Ep as an 
organization.  Those findings are currently under review in appropriate 
University processes and should be resolved later this semester.  Until 
those processes are complete, Sig Ep remains on interim suspension as a 
recognized University organization.As well, the governing body of the 
fraternity has leased the fraternity house to Champlain College for a 
four year period.Consequently, Sig Ep is not currently a functioning 
Greek organization.

*Gender-based Sexual Violence Task Force Recommendations.*Prompted in 
part by this incident, the Gender-based Sexual Violence Task Force of 
the Commission on Social Change brought forth a series of 
recommendations last semester.We very much appreciate the good work of 
the Task Force.

Here is the current status of each recommendation:

    1. *Provide full base funding for annual Dismantling Rape Culture
    Conference, organized by the UVM Women's Center.*

    Status:Full base funding will be identified to cover this annual event.

    2. *Initiate an independent review of the UVM Greek Life community.***

    Status:Outside experts have been identified to conduct this review,
    and they will be on campus in late September.A final report with
    recommendations will be received by January, 2013.

    3. *Provide one-time funding for training costs to develop a
    comprehensive bystander intervention program.***

    Status:Funding will be identified to bring an expert trainer to our
    campus, to be hosted by the President's Commission on Social Change.

    4. *Grant base funding to hire a full-time Men's Educator on campus.
    Additionally, we recommend support for a multi-phased plan that will
    lead to the creation of a Men's Educational Center. ***

    Status:This recommendation will be shared with the appropriate
    University official and considered through the budget planning
    process for FY 2014.

    5. *Provide base funding for a post-doctoral position on relevant
    issues (e.g. sexual violence, masculinity, youth sexuality, etc.) to
    be housed in the Women's and Gender Studies (WGST) Program.***

    Status:Again, this will be shared with the appropriate official and
    considered through the FY 2014 budget planning process.

    6. *Expand opportunities for incoming students to engage with issues
    of sexual misconduct and assault, alcohol misuse and emotional
    distress through the creation of a required, credit-bearing class.
    The Taskforce recognizes that a one or two credit class may make it
    easier to incorporate into students' schedules.***

    Status:This recommendation will be shared with the Provost and the
    Deans, as well as the Faculty Senate. The creation of a required
    credit-bearing course is ultimately the purview of the Senate.

    7.*Provide additional funds needed to hire a qualified full-time
    investigator (Administrative Analyst/Planner) in the Affirmative
    Action/Equal Opportunity Office (AA/EO). The investigator would be
    responsible for reviewing all alleged cases of discrimination,
    including sexual violence, from any campus community members (e.g.
    student, faculty or staff).***

    Status:An investigator has been hired in the AA/EO office.

    *8. For at least one year, choose a book for the First-Year Summer
    Reading Program that focuses on a topic pertaining to gender-based
    and sexual violence, gender socialization, global women's rights,
    and/or the intersections between violence and oppression.*

    Status:Recommended book selections will be shared with the First
    Year Advisory Board as they consider future readings.

    *9. Creation of a communication and response plan for upper level
    administration as well as the campus community when major incidents
    of bias, unusual death, sexual violence, alcohol & other drugs
    occur. The plan will allow for a community response that is informed
    and timely, and utilizes the expertise of the President's Commission
    on Social Change.*

    Status:This recommendation will be developed by the end of the Fall,
    2012 semester with advice and input from the Presidential
    Commission, and forwarded to the President.

We will keep the community informed as further progress is made on these 
issues.

Thank you.


**