Brigham Young University issued a letter Thursday stating it was forming an advisory council to complete a study on potential structure changes when it comes to dealing with sexual assault. The council is led by four women from BYU’s many deans and professors. It has two primary goals: to identify changes that will “help BYU work toward the elimination of sexual assault on campus” and to determine how to handle the reporting process for victims “as sensitively and compassionately as possible.”
The council also set up a special page asking for public feedback from those at BYU on the issue.
In response, the LDS Church released a statement through the Daily Herald supporting the decision.
“Let us be perfectly clear: There is no tolerance for sexual assault at BYU or in the Church,” the statement read. It also mentions that victims of assault need to be treated with sensitivity, compassion, and respect.
As media reports of sexual assault at BYU have come out, the Church said the accounts “are painful to read, but we do not believe they represent the ideals BYU or Church leaders follow when responding to victims.”
You can read the full statement below:
Sexual assault is a serious concern at campuses across the nation. At Brigham Young University, students enter the campus knowing that they are expected to live according to high standards of personal morality and conduct, and certainly any form of abuse or assault falls well below any such standard. BYU’s remarkable campus community reflects character and students’ commitment to live exemplary lives.
Sadly, there are exceptions. Media have published deeply personal stories of victims of sexual assault who feel they have been treated poorly when reporting their assault. They are painful to read, but we do not believe they represent the ideals BYU or Church leaders follow when responding to victims.
Let us be perfectly clear: There is no tolerance for sexual assault at BYU or in the Church. Assault of any kind is a serious criminal offense, and we support its reporting, investigation and prosecution to the full extent of the law. Victims of assault or recipients of unwelcome sexual attention should be treated with sensitivity, compassion and respect and should feel that those to whom they disclose the assault are committed to helping them deal with the trauma they have experienced. In instances where there may have been conflict between meeting Honor Code and Title IX priorities, BYU is taking significant steps, including forming an advisory council to explore these circumstances and make recommendations for change, as needed.
Today, the university issued a letter outlining that process and launched a website inviting input. We believe their work should be given time and space to proceed so that it can result in a process that more completely reflects care for victims of sexual assault and that provides a safer campus.