I provided a brief op-ed to the Salt Lake Tribune about the BYU situation. They tell you never to read the comments, but I’ve seen some floating around the internet and wanted to address a couple of points.
First, let me note that I did not write the title to that op-ed and would not have written it that way. My original title was “What is BYU Waiting For?” which I felt was a more appropriate approach.
OK, so a couple of comments.
Really? You feel that some people at BYU (insinuation) feel it is acceptable to harass, grope and rape young women? Ridiculous.
It would be a more effective argument if you said that some people at BYU (insinuatoin [sic]) blame young women too often for being in a position to be sexually assaulted.
This is an interesting comment, and it’s possible my argument would have been stronger if I’d focused on the victim-blaming rather than the overall rape culture point. But yes, some people at BYU feel it is acceptable to harass, grope and rape. Thus we have harassment, groping and rape occurring. No, BYU officials do not encourage this behavior and actively preach against it. But there is a mindset at campuses in Utah that makes some people think that sexual violence is somehow their right.
Why are there many reasons to “have faith” in a council headed by the very person (Janet Scharman) who is responsible for the processes in BOTH the Title IX and the Honor Code Offices? A committee head who has a professional (and likely personal) relationship with the director of the Title IX Office that spans at least a decade. What are those reasons, specifically, to have faith in such a council, Steve?
Good question. First, I don’t think Janet Scharman is actually in charge of the council. Second, some of the other members of the council (Julie Valentine in particular) are immensely qualified and have a track record of engaging with this issue in strong terms. Third, ultimately I think BYU wants to do the right thing (I recognize not all will share that belief, but I find it a necessary presumption).
To take the lack of news and claim that nothing is being done about the issue is a hasty conclusion. I don’t disagree that this issue needs to be addressed, and quickly, but it seems dishonest to me to make a certain claim, like the idea that BYU is dragging its feet, based on the fact that no one has spoken about it recently. Certainly if BYU is not taking action, it should be, but Evans implies that there is an unwillingness for them to do so simply because he hasn’t heard about it.
I think the chosen title feeds into this impression, and I did not mean to imply that BYU is unwilling to change – only that BYU needs to hurry and could/should have taken some steps already at least on an interim basis.