The sights and sounds of a new fall semester — families unloading a semester’s worth of a student’s belongings and the cheerful voices of friends becoming reacquainted — make this my favorite time of year. I write to welcome you to campus and to share some ways in which we can work together to promote a positive and safe community.
Please take a minute to review the Colgate University Student Handbook
and the updates to the Equity Grievance Process
for resolving complaints of sexual violence, bias, and harassment. As the media has widely reported, a 2007 study by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service found that nearly 20 percent of college-age women will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault as will about six percent of undergraduate men. National data tell us that first-year students are more vulnerable to sexual violence, especially during the first six weeks of school. Given the growing national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses, and Colgate’s own commitment to fostering a safe and healthy environment, we will be focusing a great deal of attention on the issue this year.
Colgate will not tolerate sexual assault or harassment, and I ask that you join me and many others to eliminate such incidents. One of our most successful efforts to date is our active bystander intervention program, led by the Shaw Wellness Institute. More than 140 students were trained last year, and they already have made a difference by noticing and calling attention to potential threats and perhaps even preventing instances of violence. If you have not been trained, I urge you to do so. For more information on ways in which you can become involved, please see sexual climate initiatives
As you are no doubt aware, excessive drinking has been linked to negative consequences such as unwanted sexual contact and assault. While New York State prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages by those who are under 21 years of age, we understand that students will make their own choices when it comes to drinking. Many students who choose to drink do so in moderation. The majority of students also take protective measures to increase their safety and wellbeing, such as eating before drinking alcohol, or alternating alcoholic beverages with water.
I want to remind you that Colgate has a Medical Amnesty policy (Student Handbook, p.122
) and that we expect students will get help for students who have had too much to drink. Further, those who come forward with a complaint about sexual violence will not be charged with an alcohol violation, and Colgate has an individual and organizational Good Samaritan Exemption (Student Handbook, p.123
), which encourages members of student organizations to do the right thing when someone needs help.
In promoting a healthier campus, we will continue to focus our efforts on student education, safer choices, and clear outcomes for violations. More information about Colgate’s Points System may be found here
. I’m happy to speak with students during my open office hours on most Thursdays at 3 p.m. Thank you in advance for your role in creating a positive and caring Colgate community.
Dean of the College