“It is also our hope that the new director focus intensely on advocating for sexual assault policy change. Our Harvard Can Do Better a student campaign for sexual assault policy reform received overwhelming support for its policy demands in a student referendum last year. Among those demands are a policy of affirmative consent, clarifying the meaning of mental incapacitation, and offering comprehensive and inclusive sexual assault prevention and response training every year. The group also calls for more transparency in the administration and for clearer language that includes the LGBTQ-identifying community. These commonsense reforms have been implemented at a number of peer colleges, and they will go a long way toward creating safe social environments.
A standard of affirmative consent in particular is a change that would be critical in helping students to have more power in prosecuting assailants and in creating cultural change on campus. Despite the successes of the Our Harvard Can Do Better campaign, students have thus far lacked a strong ally in OSAPR who is willing to push for their demands. We hope that OSAPR’s new director can become that ally, and that he or she does not shy away from advocating for reform to administrators.
We salute the outstanding work that Sarah Rankin has accomplished in her seven years as OSAPR director. With a greater focus on policy reform, OSAPR can become an even stronger ally for sexual assault survivors and students working to effect change.”