November 5, 2015
Dear Members of the Claremont McKenna Community:
As president—and as a father, brother, and friend—I write today about recent survey results on the disturbing problem of sexual assault. Sexual assault is devastating to our community and violates our deepest human and educational values of freedom, safety, friendship, trust, and mutual support.
Together, CMC deans, Title IX and civil rights officers, the Personal and Social Responsibility (PSR) Committee on Sexual Assault, and many students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and trustees have taken important steps at CMC to prevent and respond to the problem of sexual assault. We have worked on prevention efforts and implemented education programs, bystander training, and enhanced care and support resources. We have collaborated effectively with the other colleges, and developed policies and procedures to create an accurate, fair, and timely investigative process in response to all claims.
Last year, with the collaboration of The Claremont Colleges, we joined in a national survey developed by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) to advance our understanding of student experience and perception. Today, we publish the results of the survey, which includes an aggregate analysis of The Claremont Colleges and our own CMC survey results. (Please review a letter from the Council of Presidents, introducing the full set of The Claremont Colleges’ data, and FAQs about the survey.)
As we absorb this data, we must keep in mind that behind each percentage, each n of response, is a cherished member of our community—a son, a daughter, a friend. Each sexual assault, each that goes unreported, each expression of doubt about the willingness of others to intervene or distrust in our administration’s responsiveness is profoundly distressing and unacceptable.
I urge you to review the linked collective data for the 7Cs, 5C undergraduates, and the specific CMC data. The results reflect student reports and observations on the frequency of incidents of sexual assault, the effectiveness of our education and training programs, the confidence students have in our ability to respond effectively and fairly, the extent of under-reporting of incidents, and the observed role of alcohol and drug use. According to CMC survey reports, alcohol was consumed by 100% of those committing assault and 80% of those reporting they were assaulted, with 58% reporting they were unable to provide consent because of alcohol or other forms of incapacitation.
We have made progress in our efforts, but we must do much more to improve the safety of our campus community. I have asked our Director of Institutional Research, Colleen Wynn, who has done an outstanding job on the presentation of this data, our Chief Civil Rights Officer, Nyree Gray, and the PSR Committee on Sexual Assault to present these survey results as part of an open PSR forum on November 10 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in Davidson Lecture Hall.
The survey findings will provide the foundation for further institutional and community action as we address pressing questions. Let’s ask ourselves how we can more effectively provide the utmost care and support to those involved in these terrible incidents, ensure fair investigations and responsive findings, and ultimately prevent and eliminate sexual assault. We need your full participation. Thank you for all you are doing to engage in this dialogue and collective effort.