Even though he passed away nearly a decade before she was born, Steven Russell Berrell has always been a strong presence in the life of his niece, Katie, a Syracuse University senior. His smile radiates from the family pictures in…
Joint Board of Trustees/SU Working Group releases University Statement of Principles and directions regarding abuse or violence against children
As part of Syracuse University’s continuing efforts to provide an open, safe environment for all SU community members and visitors, the special Joint Working Group of the University and Board of Trustees has released a set of directions for all staff and faculty to follow regarding the reporting of actual or suspected abuse or violence against children.
The Joint Board of Trustees/SU Working Group on Policies Related to Sexual Conduct, Campus Culture and Safety was formed in December 2011 to review University policies related to conduct, and responses to allegations of misconduct, for the campus, including the Department of Athletics. The group is charged with identifying gaps and recommending changes that sustain and advance the University’s commitment to an open, safe and welcoming campus.
The document released today includes the University Statement of Principles for creating such an environment and provides specific directions for both mandated reporters—individuals whose professions place special, legislated responsibilities upon them as related to reporting suspected child abuse and maltreatment—and all other members of the University community who witness, suspect or have concerns about instances of child abuse or inappropriate behavior toward children in University programs or facilities.
The Joint Working Group includes trustees, senior University administrators and the faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. Two of its members—Howard Phanstiel, Board of Trustees vice chairman and chairman of the Joint Working Group; and Kal Alston, senior vice president for Human Capital Development at SU—urge all members of the University community to review the document and to follow the directions provided therein. It is posted online at http://www.syr.edu/jwg/page1.html.
“With the Statement of Principles serving as a guide to further development of clear and comprehensive policies regarding those involved in University programs, and the directions to staff, faculty and other SU employees provided in the document released today, we believe we are advancing the University’s goals of ensuring safety, establishing accountability and providing clear lines of communication with respect to matters we all care a great deal about,” Phanstiel says.
“One of the chief goals of the Joint Working Group has been to create opportunities for the SU community to become educated about and to participate in sustaining a campus culture that is open and accessible, as well as safe and secure,” Alston says. “These directions on reporting represent one area I know has been of interest to many on campus, and while the Joint Working Group will be bringing forth further recommendations, I think this is an important piece to begin the process of discussion and education.”
Moving forward, the Joint Working Group (http://www.syr.edu/jwg/) will continue to review policies, identify gaps and recommend changes to ensure the effectiveness of efforts to create a culture aligned with the University’s academic mission and consistent with the values of transparency and sound governance. The group is expected to release a fuller report on its work before the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.