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Chancellor to address sexual assault response procedures

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Chancellor to address sexual assault response procedures

By Abbey Reighard and Dale Shoemaker / The Pitt News Staff

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Chancellor Patrick Gallagher intends to outline Pitt’s sexual assault procedures in a memo to the University community in the near future.

University spokesman Ken Service said there is no date set for the distribution of the memo to University faculty and staff. The memo would “reaffirm the University of Pittsburgh’s commitment to fostering an environment where there is no discrimination, including discrimination by sexual violence,” according to Service.

Service said Gallagher’s memo will address issues including sexual assault reporting requirements (both individual and institutional) and the informational resources and training the Pitt community currently offers. 

Given the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ recent investigations into sexual assault on college campuses — which began last May — the chancellor would like to address Pitt’s stance on these issues, according to Service. 

Though Pitt is not among the 95 schools being investigated, which were updated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last Wednesday,  the chancellor’s memo will also “clarify both individual and institutional reporting requirements in this area,” Service said. The Department of Education initially announced that it would investigate 55 schools. 

“The memo will reinforce the responsibilities that faculty and staff members have in regard to Title IX,” Service said in an email. Title IX, which states, “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” was first passed into law in 1972, and it ensures that victims of sexual assault are able to get the help they need.

Pitt currently offers students resources through the Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education. SHARE is a resource for students who have experienced sexual harassment or assault and “provides counseling to victims of sexual assault, assists victims in obtaining medical care and offers support in all aspects of the recovery process,” according to its website. 

Students can receive education about sexual harassment and assault and assistance with reporting instances of both. 

Service did not say whether or not SHARE will make any changes in the near future as a result of the chancellor’s memo.

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Chancellor to address sexual assault response procedures