Saint Mary's Statement Regarding Campus Safety Issues

MORAGA, CA. – Saint Mary's College today issued the following statement:

While federal and state laws protecting student privacy prevent us from addressing specific disciplinary matters involving current or former students, we appreciate the opportunity to comment generally on important, related issues that face colleges and universities across the U.S., including Saint Mary's.

Maintaining and enhancing an environment that honors respectful and appropriate behavior among and between students has been and is a top priority for Saint Mary's. The College also recognizes the serious emotional toll on students and their families in the wake of an alleged sexual assault. We continue to openly and proactively examine how to enhance our response to such conduct, and have retained nationally respected, independent experts to advise us.

We are committed to being a leader among institutions of higher education in addressing these issues. Recent actions taken by Saint Mary's include:

* Installation of additional campus lighting, emergency phones and emergency information placards in residence halls. All of these enhancements were completed prior to the spring term. Although we have had no reports of sexual assaults by strangers coming onto our campus, some students asked for additional physical safeguards, and we were glad to provide them.

* Formation of a college-wide Task Force on sexual assault and student safety to thoroughly review its approach to investigating alleged incidents of student sexual misconduct, supporting victims, and sanctioning violators of College policies. This group includes students, faculty, administrators, trustees and regents, and outside law enforcement experts. The Task Force continues to meet regularly, has held an open forum for all students, and will issue a comprehensive report after concluding its work.

* Separate, independent analyses of campus security measures and of Saint Mary's compliance with federally required reporting of campus crime statistics. Outcomes of these reviews are forthcoming and will be shared with the College community.

* Enhanced student awareness and education programs on sexual assault and related issues, including alcohol use. These programs, already enhanced to include meetings with all resident students, will be further expanded for incoming freshmen this fall.

* Weekly updates to the College community on all ongoing initiatives.

Saint Mary's is committed to following through on all of the initiatives it has undertaken and to keeping the College community and public informed about its progress.