Interpersonal Violence Task Force created

The implementation of an Interpersonal Violence Task Force was announced at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The task force will focus on examining the efficiency of the university’s harassment prevention programs.

The announcement followed a presentation on the Dear Colleague Letter and its application to Appalachian State University, given by Dean of Students JJ Brown and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cindy Wallace.

“Colleges have been put in an extraordinarily difficult situation,” Wallace said during Friday’s meeting.

“It’s not easy to find your balance here, doing what’s right, creating that safe environment, and adhering to what you want to do to be great citizens of what, I think, the thrust of the Dear Colleague letter is – and that’s protecting the educational environment so there is equal access for students in pursuing their education.”

The Dear Colleague Letter “provides guidance on the unique concerns that arise in sexual violence cases, such as the role of criminal investigations and a school’s independent responsibility to investigate and address sexual violence,” according to

The task force will also examine a list handed to Chancellor Peacock during March’s “No Equal? No More!” campaign.

The campaign was launched in response to the administration’s handling of the sexual assault cases involving four athletes who were found responsible for sexual offenses and suspended from the university, after months of student conduct board hearings.

But prior to Brown’s presentation, Trustee Avery Hall began the meeting by emphasizing the conversation was “purely educational”.

“This information is educational,” Hall said during the meeting. “It’s not to interpret what has transpired on our campus.”

Policy reviews take place annually, according to Brown and Wallace.

“This is not a reactive situation,” Wallace said. “In our minds, we have been about this important work of the safety of our campus and the importance of the community we have created for years.”

Brown will co-chair the task force with Director of Equality, Diversity and Compliance Linda Foulsham.

The task force will consist of students, faculty, staff and an OASIS staff member, all of whom will serve until May 2013. Brown did not specify who would fill those positions.

Story: ANNE BUIE, Managing Editor