UMass Amherst Hosts Statewide Conference for College Administrators Concerning Sexual and Domestic Violence Issues

Massachusetts college and university administrators and faculty members are invited to participate in a free forum, “Massachusetts Steps Up: Key Sexual and Domestic Violence Issues for College Administrators” on Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The forum is sponsored by the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and developed by the council’s Higher Education Subcommittee on Sexual and Domestic Violence. Critical campus issues such as alcohol, sexual consent and accountability and creating a coordinated community response to sexual and domestic violence will be addressed.

Enku Gelaye, interim vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life at UMass Amherst, will welcome participants to the conference. Jessica Dautruche of UMass Amherst’s Center for Women & Community (CWC) will discuss alcohol, sexual consent and accountability, and Becky Lockwood from CWC and Allison Berger of the university’s dean of students office will be panelists in a workshop on creating a coordinated community response to sexual and domestic violence.

Last May, then-Lt. Gov. Tim Murray sent a letter to all Massachusetts college presidents, urging them to “ensure that the needs of victims are being addressed and that perpetrators are being held accountable” by engaging in best practices to prevent and respond to sexual and domestic violence on their respective campuses. The letter referenced recent efforts by the federal Office of Civil Rights through the “Dear Colleague Letter” to make certain that colleges and universities respond appropriately to student disclosures of sexual and relationship violence.  

Another “Massachusetts Steps Up” forum is being held at Brandeis University on Sept. 17.