More Progress, Faster, on UA Assault Policies, Enforcement

Illustration of rally or march with blank sign

Statement of the board of UA-Fayetteville Education Association, Local 965, April 30, 2021

We the Workers of Local 965 support Gillian Gullett, Sophie Hill and all their compatriots in calling for meaningful structural changes at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in the Title IX offices and in the campus at large, in order to better cultivate a culture of zero tolerance of sexual violence and harassment, of education in the ethics and responsibility of consent and bodily autonomy, and of restorative justice for survivors of sexual assault.

We applaud their achievement in getting the Chancellor to agree to the five demands put forward in the petition brought by Gullett and other signees. We also recognize that there is much more work to be done, that the ills of sexual harassment and assault are deeply imbricated with systems, attitudes, and procedures that cultivate toxic cultures where sexual assault and harassment are trivialized, informed consent is misunderstood or not understood at all, and where survivors of assault are less likely to be believed. These problems are bigger than the University of Arkansas, but that does not excuse University administrators, faculty, staff, and students from taking responsibility to bring about the cultural seachanges so desperately needed for the liberation of human beings from the evil of sexual violence.

Therefore, recognizing that the culture of violence and injustice at UA Fayetteville is not unique to our Northwest Arkansas campus, we hereby call on University of Arkansas System President Don Bobbit, the Board of Trustees and all UA System chancellors to implement changes in a similar vein at every institution through the UA System. We furthermore call on them to conduct critical evaluations of how to best fit these solutions for their given situation, and to produce roadmaps to implement actionable, concrete solutions. We ask that these evaluations, their results, and implementation plans be conducted, completed, reviewed and published by the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester.

We furthermore ask that the University Administration commit itself to the principles of restorative justice in crafting and carrying out its processes for investigating, issuing, and appealing charges of sexual violence, such that they are structured so as to be resistant to bad-faith litigation on the part of the guilty party, and that survivors of sexual violence are preferentially consulted at all parts of the development of such an appeals process to ensure that the new procedures are not only legal, but are effective aspects of the process of individual and community healing. (This article from the Canadian Department of Justice includes a summary exposition from the authors of the original article on how these principles may look in practice.)

We ask the Chancellor and the incoming Title IX Coordinator to coordinate a review of all previous assault proceedings in which the respondent was found guilty of the charges and allowed to remain enrolled, employed or otherwise affiliated with the University. If the statute of limitations for the committed offense has not expired, and the guilty party is still affiliated with the University, we ask that the guilty party be placed on probation pending termination.

Flyer for April 30, 2021, campus rally over sexual assault policies and actions

We furthermore commend the organizers of the Noon- 3 p.m. Friday, April 30, 2021, demonstration in front of Old Main, which individual members of Local 965 plan to attend.

News Articles

Will Honor Demands to Aid Assault Survivors, UA SaysNorthwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 29, 2021 (possible subscription paywall)

UA Graduate and Sexual Assault Survivor Calls for Campus Change With Petition —Arkansas Traveler, April 28, 2021

Petition Demands UA Changes to Aid Assault SurvivorsNorthwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 27, 2021 (possible subscription paywall)

Sexual Assault Survivor Speaks Out about Outrage to $20,000 Settlement between UA, Former Student — KHBS-TV/KHOG-TV, April 27, 2021

University of Arkansas Pays $20,000 Settlement to Former Student Accused of Sexual Assault — KNWA-TV/KFTA-TV, April 22, 2021

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