Feb. 24, 2003
Following are three related documents:
EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: President Boyd will be available to take calls or conduct interviews after 1 p.m. today, Monday, Feb. 24. To arrange an interview, contact Brenda Huebner at 319-335-3549.
The Case at Hand and Beyond
As Interim President, I am ultimately accountable for the handling of the Pierre Pierce case by the University. I have been committed to making a decision before I left office whether the University would proceed against Mr. Pierce under the Code of Student Life. This question was left open for the past few months as we carefully examined the complicated and important legal and factual issues involved with the case.
I have personally spent countless hours in this process. I have been greatly assisted by Linda McGuire, Associate Dean of the Law School, who has served as my lawyer.
The committee chaired by Professor Margaret Raymond has been involved in a comprehensive review of what happened in this case, and I asked them not to feel pressured to finish their work by March 1. Their charge did not, however, include recommending whether the University would take further action against Mr. Pierce, as I reserved that decision for myself. The committee's report will focus instead on what we can learn from the case and how we should proceed in the future. In that respect, their work is more important than the announcement I must make today. The committee will make its report to President-designate Skorton.
With respect to Mr. Pierce, I have determined that we will not pursue further
proceedings under the Code of Student Life. I do so with the concurrence
of Phillip E. Jones, Vice President of Student Services and Dean of Students.
I have done so for two reasons. First, I am greatly influenced by my respect
for the wishes of the victim. The victim has been represented by counsel,
and so it has not been possible for my counsel, Linda McGuire, to visit with
the victim directly. Instead, we have determined her wishes through statements
of others close to her that we regard as reliable. She has asked that any
internal disciplinary action not involve her or disclose her identity. Because
of the uniqueness of this case, we believe we can best honor her wish by
not proceeding under the Code of Student Life. She does, however, want the
University to monitor meticulously the "no contact" terms of the
I make my judgment not to proceed under the Code of Student Life reluctantly. I look to the ad hoc Raymond Committee to make factual observations and recommendations that will make it clear to all concerned how best to proceed in the future to protect both victims and University procedures. My decision in this case should not be taken by anyone inside or outside the University as setting a precedent for how the University should or will proceed in the future.
While I have had to deal with the case at hand in its specifics, I strongly believe we have a broader community responsibility to mobilize the University to eliminate sexual harassment and violence among students, faculty and staff. Each of us has a personal obligation to respect and protect others. We must always ask ourselves: what does our conduct say about each of us as an individual? What are our personal values, our beliefs? There is no escaping our personal duty to others. In the case of sexual harassment and violence when one party feels there has been a transgression and so communicates, the other party must immediately stop. This is the only way we can avoid repetition of the tragic case I have had to address.
In order to underscore my strong convictions about individual and community responsibility, I have appointed a Campus Climate Committee to determine how we can make known to all members of the University community the availability of assistance and policies to protect victims and also to work to eliminate harassment and violence on this campus. This committee is commissioned today with Professor Jennifer Glass named as the Chair and Charlotte Westerhaus, Assistant to the President and Director of Affirmative Action, as the primary central administration liaison. They will make recommendations to President-designate David Skorton.
Willard L. Boyd
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Goal: The goal of the committee's work is to examine the campus climate regarding issues of personal safety and freedom from harassment and assault.
Through its policies on personal harassment and violence, the University states unequivocally its values. These policies are among the strongest on campuses around the country. Recent events have given the University an opportunity to reevaluate the way it responds to violations of these policies. The details of the response are just one measure of whether our campus climate is a welcoming one for all members of the community, including women and people of color.
Although appropriate policies exist and appear, in general, to be operating well, we need to insure that every member of the campus community knows how to get help when it appears that the policies may have been violated. Furthermore, we must do all we can to encourage individuals to conduct themselves in ways that reflect the values embodied in the policies.
The committee is charged to make recommendations concerning:
Summary: Through a careful reevaluation of the methods by which our campus policies are communicated, and otherwise exploring the climate for victims of assault and harassment, it is hoped that the committee's work will promote trust, healing, and growth within the campus community.
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Jennifer Glass (Committee Chair), Professor, Department of Sociology
STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brenda Huebner, 319-335-3549, to arrange interviews with President Boyd after 1 p.m. today, Monday, Feb. 24.