Jimmy Carter talks Columbia’s sexual assault policies at Women in the World
At an event during the Women in the World Summit on Friday, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter criticized the way that American universities handle reported cases of sexual assault, specifically mentioning Columbia by name.
In the interview with Katie Couric, Carter talks about how, in recent years, he has taken on the cause of fighting for women’s rights and wants to work toward ending injustice toward women. Around minute 24, he says that he feels deans and presidents of universities should not make sanctioning decisions in cases of sexual assault. “On American university campuses, only 4 percent of rapes are reported, because the girls who get raped are discouraged from reporting it, because it brings a bad reputation to the university. That needs to be changed as well,” Carter says in the video.
Check after the jump for the video and for a statement from the group No Red Tape.
Below is the statement from activist group No Red Tape, which is committed to fighting sexual violence on campus:
We could not agree more with the serious concerns Jimmy Carter raised about the flawed sexual violence policies here at Columbia. Allowing deans to decide the sanctions for rapists and determine whether appeals are granted is a central flaw of the University’s formal reporting policy and makes our community unsafe. Firstly, deans are currently allowed to serve as sanctioning officials with little or no training. This is both unacceptable and illegal under Title IX legislation. Furthermore, regardless of the deans’ training or intentions, their responsibilities for fundraising, athletics, Greek life, other student groups and activities, and especially for protecting the public image of the University make it impossible for them to fairly and impartially decide cases of sexual violence. As Jimmy Carter points out, students cannot expect support, justice, or safety from this kind of biased system.
Deans have proven they are unfit for this role by repeatedly making decisions that put survivors and all students at risk. Our deans have allowed rapists and serial rapists to remain on campus in multiple instances, and have failed to implement any meaningful education or counseling programs to prevent perpetrators from committing future violence.
Policies like this–in addition to our vastly inadequate resources and preventative education program–make our community unsafe and demand immediate attention. We need impartial, well-trained, dedicated professionals making sanctioning and appellate decisions, as well as supporting students and survivors in other roles like staffing the Rape Crisis Center full-time and providing counseling at CPS and Furman.
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