Penn State to issue 'Call to Action' on ending sexual misconduct

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — President Eric Barron and other University leaders will gather 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 8 to issue a “Call to Action,” a milestone event in Penn State’s ongoing efforts to combat sexual assault and harassment and create an environment that doesn’t tolerate sexual violence.

“Penn State Call to Action: Stopping Sexual Misconduct,” in room 233 of the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus, will bring together student leaders, administrators and faculty to call upon the community to continue to raise awareness of these issues. The event will include an update on the work being done at Penn State to create a healthy climate and curb sexual misconduct, as well as discussion on the progress made in implementing the recommendations the Task Force on Sexual Assault and Harassment presented earlier this year.

“The steps being taken to combat sexual assault and harassment show the University’s commitment to addressing this issue,” said Barron, who will speak about those efforts at the event. “Those recommendations — from creating a Title IX coordinator position and office with support staff to creating a new model for investigating sexual misconduct — are already being implemented. Our work does not stop there, however, and we look forward to coming together to bring those goals to fruition.”

In February, Barron accepted 18 recommendations from the task force, pledging the University’s support for being a leader when it comes to addressing the ongoing, nationwide issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses. The University has begun to implement many of the task force recommendations, including developing a climate survey of students that will take place this fall and rolling out a bystander intervention training program.

Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, who led the task force, said the “Call to Action” builds on the University’s efforts to create a climate that’s not tolerant of sexual abuse of any kind.

“We’ve made significant headway in these efforts, but there are still opportunities for growth,” Sims said. “The ‘Call to Action’ will provide a place to discuss where we are now, what challenges we continue to face and what the next steps will be when it comes to addressing sexual violence.”

Sims will moderate a panel discussion that will include: Katie Tenny, chair of Penn State’s Bystander Intervention Initiative; Penn State Altoona Chancellor Lori Bechtel-Wherry; Ken Lehrman, vice provost for affirmative action; Sarah Clark Miller, associate professor of philosophy and women’s studies; and Shawn Lichvar, president of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments.

“A tangible reduction in violence will be a result of comprehensive and sustained efforts throughout campus,” Tenny said. “There have been people working for a long time to reduce sexual misconduct at Penn State, and my hope is that these recommendations will complement the work that has already been done to move this effort forward, and ultimately that it results in fewer people getting hurt.”

Emily McDonald, president of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), will moderate the event; and Terry Ford, vice president of UPUA will provide a student perspective on how students can get involved in the effort.

The event will be livestreamed by WPSU at (the address will become active Sept. 8), and can be followed on Twitter at #PSUCalltoAction.

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Last Updated April 19, 2017