Reed college

College announces changes in sexual assault policies

The sexual assault expert hired by Reed College last year has submitted his resignation with the elite private college still embroiled in turmoil over its sexual assault policies, a set of disciplinary procedures that the college itself recently determined were partially out of compliance with federal law.

With Reed faculty joining their voices to a mounting student campaign for change, the college has already made changes in its polices to meet federal legal requirements. Kevin Myers, director of strategic communications for
Reed, said additional policy changes are on the way. Some of those changes were announced to students Wednesday.

The sometimes fierce debate on campus has caused clashes between students and administrators, provoked alumni, spurred graffiti and flyers on campus, and prompted guerilla theater in the college dining room. Though the college hired a sexual assault expert last year, in part to help navigate reforms underway since August 31, the expert, Pete Meagher, has told the college he is leaving May 31, with changes still pending.

Fifty-eight percent of Reed College students signed a petition urging policy reform, presented to the college president, board of trustees and faculty and student governments April 22. Faculty also submitted a petition, saying the college may be inadvertently harming sexual assault victims through its policies, and some student victims and advocates think Reed is violating federal law.

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College moves toward changing rules for handling sexual assault cases

Officials at Reed College say the institution is likely to loosen confidentiality rules surrounding sexual assault cases on campus, an idea that’s won favor with faculty, staff and students.

The topic came under discussion Monday at a campus forum centered on Reed’s Honor Principle, the century old doctrine by which students conduct themselves. Though it’s separate from policies that govern the university, the Honor Principle is at the heart of Reed’s esoteric culture, which promotes free thought and experimentation, and allows students unique latitude to meter out justice through a Judicial Board.

About 400 students turned out to Monday’s forum, where conversation with a slate of student, faculty, staff and alumnus panelists ranged from philosophical discussion to more practical matters.

In the crowded Kaul Auditorium, personal expression ranged from purple leggings to dreadlocks, leather jackets to “Junior Statesman of America” t-shirts.

Students bristled at the sight of a reporter, however, and pointedly noted the meeting was “private.” They refer to this community as “The Reed Bubble,” and allow few outsiders in. In a tight-knit group of 1,400, students show their school spirit with pride. But they feel besieged by recent media reports about the college.

Since Reed College saw the first of two overdose deaths since 2008, its administration has faced pressure to tamp down on drugs, most notably from law enforcement.

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Portland college students demand changes in sexual assault process

A student member of Reed College’s Judicial Board has resigned over the school’s handling of sexual assault, and her public appeal to students and faculty to think critically about how the college is adjudicating sex crimes has inspired weeks of debate on the campus, likely to be central to a student forum April 4.

Isabel Manley served three semesters on the private Portland college’s Judicial Board. She offered a personal critique of Reed’s handling of sexual assault in a letter in the school newspaper The Quest Feb. 11, in which she resigned.

Manley’s resignation has stirred discussion on campus, subsequent letters to The Quest - including a formal response from faculty - and also prompted a group of 20 students identifying themselves as sexual assault survivors to issue a nine-point “manifesto” on sexual assault, outlining lapses in the college’s goal of providing resources to victims and offering solutions.

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