September 16, 2019 | 66° F

Prosecutors to address sexual violence at Rutgers town hall in fall

Photo by Garrett Steffe |

President Robert L. Barchi, who attended the New Jersey Conference on Campus Sexual Violence, sent an email last February stating that the University aims to prevent sexual harassment by bringing more transparency to their reporting and providing training to staff.

Twenty-one county prosecutors in New Jersey will be holding community forums on local college campuses to address the issue of campus sexual violence this upcoming fall, according to a press release by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety. This was announced during the New Jersey Conference on Campus Sexual Violence, an event hosted by the Center on Violence Against Women and Children in Somerset, New Jersey. 

“We will steadfastly defend the right of students to receive an education free of sexual harassment, violence and discrimination,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, according to the release. “The message that I want these survivors to hear is this: there are prosecutors across the state and investigators working with them who dedicate their lives to prosecuting cases like yours and pursuing justice for survivors like you.”

The events on campus will be part of the 21-County, 21st Century Community Policing Project, which the Attorney General’s Office began a year ago. The goal of the project is to bring law enforcement and community stakeholders together in every county for town hall meetings, roundtable discussions and other events to address vital issues, according to the release. 

The conference, which was attended by University President Robert L. Barchi, also heard the overview of recommendation by the New Jersey Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault, according to a tentative agenda of the event. 

The Daily Targum reported in February that Barchi had written in a message sent to Rutgers' Board of Governors Chair Sandy Stewart and Vice Chair Mark Angelson that the University-wide Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee was set to release its recommendations soon. The committee began last fall, where concerns were raised regarding the University’s two-year limit on conducting investigations.

Barchi’s message was released after concerns were raised by a student on behalf of the coalition “End Assault at Rutgers” at a Board of Governors meeting that same month. The student delivered eight demands to change the way the University conducts sexual assault investigations, according to the Targum. 

“This committee is charged with making recommendations that will ensure that the University is proactive in preventing sexual harassment, bringing greater transparency to our reporting, providing world-class training for faculty and staff and engaging in thoughtful assessment on the effectiveness of our approaches,” Barchi said in the message. 

Brendan Brightman

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