Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong called a news conference May 17 to address a “change in culture” that he said is necessary after three reported rapes this month.
The task force assembled to bring about this change consists of Academic Senate Chair Rachel Fernflores, Vice President for Student Affairs Cornel Morton and Associated Students Inc. President Sarah Storelli.
Armstrong said sexual assaults are underreported, and he wants to make sure that victims of sexual assault feel safe to report incidents so the crimes can be properly investigated.
“I do know that, as a campus that cares about each other, we need to take a hard look at ourselves, particularly (at) sexual violence, alcohol and drug abuse,” Armstrong said.
The task force will review programs currently in place at Cal Poly, as well as other campuses around the country. The members of the task force will report back to Armstrong by the end of spring quarter with recommendations for improving current resources and building additional programs that address these issues of sexual assault, Armstrong said.
He expects actions and recommendations from the task force as early as this week.
Task force member and philosophy professor Fernflores said the task force will work in the context of the national scene.
“Our real problem is we haven’t talked about it enough,” Fernflores said. “These are problems that every college community has. We want to be the college community that does the best job in addressing these issues and providing resources and support.”
These resources will educate students about sexual assault and alcohol abuse.
“We don’t want to treat (sexual assault and alcohol abuse) as the same problem but meet them at their intersections and recognize each as a problem in and of its own right,” Fernflores said.
The task force is set to have both short and long-term plans. Morton, Storelli and Fernflores will have their first meeting today to discuss accomplishing their goal of reducing sexual assault.