Sexual assault commission with legislators, plans to rally campus

The new commission on sexual assault created by University President James Danko progressed with work on new legislation over the summer.

At the end of the 2013-14 academic year, Danko announced the formation of the commission.

The initial mission of the group consisting of students, faculty and staff was  to develop a plan to stop sexual violence at Butler, according to a university-wide email. The email also stated the commission would meet and work over the summer months, with enhancements coming as soon as this fall.

During his state of the university address, Danko updated faculty and staff about the group’s progress.

“This is a very complex issue,” Danko said. “When it comes to anything to do with the safety and security of our students, we can’t afford not to get on top of it.”

Danko asked for anyone who wants to be active in the commission to join and talk to Morris. The group deliberately waited until the academic year began to call for more participation, according to an email from Matt Mindrum, vice president for marketing and communications.

Headed by Provost Kathryn Morris, the commission worked through the summer without a full roster due to staff and faculty members being off campus.

Chief of Staff Ben Hunter moved forward with legislation, coordinating with the General Counsel Claire Aigotti. He worked with U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks who co-sponsored the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. The bill focuses on accountability and transparency.

Butler also joined a coalition of other Indiana universities to address sexual assault on college campuses. Indiana University, Purdue University and The University of Notre Dame are also part of the coalition.

The commission also worked with State Rep. Christina Hale to discuss legislation regarding sexual violence on campuses.

“We continue to make connections across government, across universities to ensure we are understanding what’s going on and that we have a seat at the table,” Danko said. He noted the “tensions between legalities and the social good” and the “conflicts between federal laws and common sense” in his address.

“It’s not really about sides,” he said. “It’s about the students.”

The president said Morris would announce a full roster of the commission soon. The group will have several subcommittees concerning topics such as training, survivor advocacy and policies.

Programming will be utilized to target different groups of students, like Greek life, new students and student-athletes.

Levester Johnson, vice president for student affairs, spoke with freshman on Monday night about the university’s “C.A.R.E.” model and assisted in “sex signals,” a comedic audience-based presentation on consentual sex.

The bystander intervention model trains students to notice concerning behavior and react, according to the release.


To see a timeline of these events please click here.