Talking points with President Frank:

Members of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty met to discuss the President’s response to the proposed email on women’s safety to community leaders including law enforcement agencies from the CWGE after an eighth woman was attached in the Campus West area.

We believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from this experience.  Going forward we believe that a more proactive approach to women’s issues at CSU and in the community – and women’s safety issues in particular – would contribute to making CSU the best place for women to work and learn.  We think the CWGE can assist the President in this endeavor.

Issues that came up in the context of the eight stranger assaults on women in the Fort Collins community:

  1. Women felt unsafe in the community, around campus and on campus.
  2. There was a sense that those feelings were pushed aside and did not receive the attention they deserved.
  3. What might have helped?  Regular communication, timely communication, use of appropriate language and framing in communications.
  4. It was noted that a lot of students don’t read safety emails but they do read emails from the President.
  5. At a time when women were afraid there was silence on the part of the University.
  6. The public safety message that came out right before Thanksgiving break was welcome to some and to others it was too little too late.  Some of the responses to the message were that it was condescending and even sarcastic in tone.
  7. There are long lasting effects of violence on the victims and their families and friends/acquaintances that need to be recognized.

We propose:

  1. Partnering more closely with the President to discuss and take action on important issues identified by members of the Commission.  For example one of the things we think needs to be clarified is what “off campus” actually means.  In situations like the series of stranger assaults on women in the Fort Collins community many of the attacks happened close to campus and some directly affected CSU students.  CSU women students, faculty and staff were all affected indirectly in terms of the fear and anxiety the attacks engendered.  It was noted that the High Park fire elicited a very strong response from CSU “as a member of the community” but virtually no response in the case of the assaults on women.
  2. Partnering more closely with the Public Safety Team on issues related to women’s safety on and around campus.
  3. Partnering with Ann Hudgens and Hartshorn Health Center to work on the best way to provide women (CSU students, faculty and staff) who are victims of sexual assault with access to rape kits.

It is our hope that the CWGE can play a more constructive, proactive role in the future especially when it comes to issues of women’s safety on our campus and in our community.  After all, even when violence occurs off campus it affects the campus community.

Copy of Recommendation