Today several members of our group finally met with President David Anderson. The meeting was facilitated by the working group head, Tim Maudlin, and focused largely on trying to find a “common ground” between ourselves and the president.
We can report that after the meeting we have an understanding of why the President has taken the actions that he has in the past month. While we still don’t necessarily agree with his actions, it is helpful to hear his perspective.
One thing that Anderson emphasized repeatedly in the meeting is that sexual assault is always a difficult issue to approach from an administrative angle. We acknowledge that the implementation of sexual assault policies is difficult from an administrative perspective.
However, we tried to emphasize in our meeting that sexual assault is always more painful for survivors than it ever will be for administrators and policy makers.
We want to believe that President David Anderson has walked away from this meeting with a greater understanding of the urgency and empathy that is warranted for sexual violence. Additionally, we hope that the President recognizes the harm that St. Olaf’s current sexual assault policies have incurred on survivors as well as the poor administration of such policies.
We will continue to open ourselves to hearing different points of view in the coming weeks.