BYU president evaluating sexual assault reporting concerns

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BYU President Kevin J Worthen is calling for a reevaluation of the sexual assault reporting process on campus.

Worthen sat down with university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins to answer questions about the decision to evaluate how reports of sexual assault are treated on campus.

Questions about how sexual assault victims report the crime, and how university officials handle that information, have been addressed in multiple local news stories over the past week.

“First and foremost, our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of our students,” Worthen said. “That’s particularly true for those who have been victims of sexual assault.”

Worthen said the focus of the Title IX Office is to offer support to victims of sexual assault.

“They’ve been through a traumatic experience, they’re vulnerable. They’re looking for help, and we ought to provide that. That’s the primary focus of the Title IX process. That’s what we want the primary focus to be in that process as well,” he said.

Issues between the Title IX Office and the Honor Code Office have been addressed as well.

“We recognize that there’s some tension between those two. That there are some victims of sexual assault — again, those who are vulnerable already — who already may feel like they don’t want to come in, they don’t want to talk about it. Sometimes the fear of what’s going to happen may keep them from coming in,” Worthen said.

Worthen also answered what he would personally say to a sexual assault victim.

“First and foremost, I would say that the victim of sexual assault is never responsible for the sexual assault. You’re not at fault. And then I would say ‘Come in and get the help that can be provided.'”

Worthen restated BYU’s policy for cases of sexual assault.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for sexual violence and perpetrators of sexual violence, period,” he said.

“Under the direction of the university president, the issues will be closely studied. He will call on resources both inside and outside of the university to study all aspects of our process,” according to BYU News.

“We have decided to study these issues, including potential structural changes within the university, the process for determining whether and how information is used, and the relationship between the Title IX Office and the Honor Code Office,” according to the statement which was released with information about the video.

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