BYU’s Title IX Report

President Worthen announced today that the Advisory Council on campus sexual assault has provided its report, and that BYU is going to adopt all of the council’s recommendations.

BYU’s Title IX Site is here

The report is here

This is such good news, and such a good step forward.

I feel the hand of God at work here in directing BYU.  It is a good feeling and I hope to continue to feel this way.  I’ve read the report.  It is filled with good recommendations and is clearly the product of smart people thinking deeply on the topics.  There are quibbles — there are always quibbles — but for now, I wanted to say thanks to the Advisory Council members, thanks to President Worthen, and thanks to everyone who pushed and spoke up and helped to make BYU better.

Comments

  1. Aaron Brown says:

    Hooray!

  2. Well said, Steve.

  3. Finally, good progress. As for “the hand of God at work here in directing BYU…” If so, I would conclude He has been absent previously. IMO

  4. These changes are significant. i feared window dressing, but this appears to be substantive. Thank you, Steve Evans and others, for continuing to beat the drum on this important issue to help bring about change.

  5. This wouldn’t have happened without brave students, BCC, and the Salt Lake Tribune. Great work.

  6. Fred the Ephraimite says:

    fbisti, how exactly does that square with the history of revelation? Where exactly are we told that God is going to save us from making mistakes and needing to turn to him for guidance to fix them?

  7. I was happy to see the changes. As an alumnus, I was embarrassed by some of the comments I saw from well-intentioned, misinformed individuals that victims of sexual assault had nothing to fear from the HC office. A big step forward

  8. Amen. Good job, BYU.

  9. Good news! In particular, we all knew (on-line conversations being a reasonable bellwether in this case) that amnesty would be a huge issue and that amnesty would require several layers of review. The report comes out very strongly for amnesty, in the strongest form I ever imagined for BYU. Furthermore, and of critical importance, this is not a pass-the-buck exercise when President Worthen’s statement says: “In the meantime [while under review], we will operate under the amnesty guidelines recommended in the report.”

  10. Genevieve says:

    I am deeply happy about this.

  11. BYUEmployee says:

    I’m really happy with this as well–my reasons for working at BYU are complex and the Honor Code (and the way it is enforced) is one of the things I like least about the university. I’ve been really pleased with President Worthen’s leadership on this issue and his service so far–he really cares about BYU and he took this concern seriously. My biggest hope is that adequate training will be given to ecclesiastical leaders about responding to sexual assault, since they are often in the position of ‘first responder’ so to speak, and even if official school procedures have changed, I worry some people won’t get the message.

  12. Hear, hear! Also, evidence of the value of having women in our councils.

  13. Fred, 12:53 PM: Not at all sure what you mean.

    My point is that God’s “hand” seems to be absent almost always. We seem to be left to our own devices. Assuming the best of Him, I don’t think He has been “revealing” to our leaders the large number of policy/doctrinal errors these past 170 years–including the POX of just about a year ago.

  14. Depending on how literally you take the dramatic presentation of the endowment in the temple ceremony, God actually only puts his hand into the mix — i.e. gets personally involved in our affairs down here in the “temporal world” — about once every two thousand years or so, maybe more. The rest of the time it seems to be people (including Church leaders or others tasked with leadership responsibility, like a BYU President) acting according to their own best understanding of previous revelation. Of course the New Testament also adds the presence of the continual guidance of the Holy Spirit after Christ’s ascension, so we hope that a large measure of spiritual inspiration has been involved when given direction by such people based on their best-intentioned and reasoned interpretation of such scripture. But as for God’s “hand” being in some specific development, I think it’s a valid observation to note the rareness of the presence of God’s hand in the issue under consideration.

  15. Does anyone have any educated guesses on whether or not Hawaii and Idaho will follow suit? It would be great to see these changes on all the church campuses.

  16. Anon, that’s the indication.

  17. Hurray!

  18. I’m so, so happy that BYU made the right decision here. I wish it had come sooner, but I am thrilled that it came at all. Great job, SL Tribune, BCC, and Maddi and the others who were brave enough to come forward and tell their stories!

  19. Ruth Anne Shepherd says:

    Thank you BCC for posting and not forgetting about it. I have been deeply distressed about this for months. I’m relieved to see these changes.

  20. Very good things. And I’d like to echo Rachael – this would not have happened without some very brave people.

  21. This feels so hopeful to me, in a way I haven’t felt about BYU stuff in a while.

  22. BYU did the right thing. Forming a committee largely made up of female experts outside of the Smoot Building was the right thing to do. And implementing the committee’s recommendations wholesale was an even stronger signal. Today I’m proud of my alma matter. Cleaning up BYU police is next. I would also like to see the church train student ward bishops–I think too much variance in judgment exists among campus bishops when it comes to this issue. While I think President Worthen acted admirably, I wish he would address the public and press directly. BYU administration seems too insular and I would like to see him hold a press conference and take questions.

    Kudos to the Tribune! This is such a great example of good journalism and why it is to be valued within our communities and fiercely defended. In my opinion, the Tribune is owed the credit for driving meaningful and significant change within a largely change-resistant institution.

    I hope the victims who came forward, risking it all, feel vindicated. Those women and men are moral heroes. Especially as a father of daughters, I want each of them to know how grateful I am for their courage and bravery. They helped to make the world a better place for my own girls. Little means more to me than that.

  23. This is desperately needed good news.

  24. Some may call the criticism of BYU on this issue “persecution.” I like to think of it more as “chastening,” and the university responded the right way, by making needed changes (repentance) instead of circling the wagons.

  25. Such a perfect comment, Rob.

  26. Rob, I think that’s true, though I hesitate to consider myself so high and mighty as to chasten BYU. I view Zion as a collaborative project in which we all have a vested interest. Working together to make things better involves identifying areas for change.

  27. I don’t intend this as a chastening or even quibble, but a wish and a hope. I would like to think that BYU could be in the forefront, could be an example, of best practice in supporting students at a religion-chartered school. Instead, I believe (with some external third-party evidence) that BYU currently has a behind-the-times foot dragging reputation, and that this report and response will be seen as a good response more than a little late.
    While it will never be public, I would like to think that there’s some soul-searching going on about how BYU could do better faster sooner, across the board.

  28. Far more than the two previous BYU presidents, Kevin Worthen has the ability and the inclination to lead the kind of effort that christiankimball wishes for. The question is whether he can get a green light from his bosses.

    A bellwether might be the way that the church handles the problem of training BYU campus bishops on rape awareness and the new sexual assault policies. The report quietly but firmly identified that issue as the Achilles heel of the committee’s work; the committee didn’t have authority to work on that problem. One of Worthen’s best qualities is his ability to simplify a problem and quietly find the most direct path to a solution. If the church lets him work on this one, that might be a good sign.

  29. Good news all around. One of the main problems with the whole Title IX–HC Office relationship was that it was inconsistent with how bishops in campus wards were routinely dealing with things like premarital sex. Even though such actions are in violation of the honor code, bishops were not running to the HC office over every infraction, even serious ones. One bishop I know said he got the HC Office involved in only a couple of extreme cases, one of them in order to get a sexual predator kicked out of the apartment complex where his ward was mostly located. Other instances were treated as sin, and the participants were helped in the repentance process with no HC Office involvement. So, the cozy relationship and sharing of information between Title IX and HC officers was an aberration. That has apparently been corrected, and most violators of the HC will be able to repent without the fear of getting kicked out of school.

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