LSU’s Office of Advocacy and Accountability Working to Stay at the Forefront of Gender Issues on Campus

09/16/2014 09:50 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU is committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for students, faculty and staff, and recently, the Office of Advocacy and Accountability began working with national associations and the Federal Government to keep the university on the forefront of ever-changing national standards with regards to gender equity and harassment issues.
 

Matt Gregory, associate dean of students and director of the Student Advocacy and Accountability in LSU Office of the Dean of Students, made a trip to Washington, D.C. this summer as a member of the Association for Student Conduct Administration, or ASCA, to meet with senators, congressmen and White House staff to discuss these issues on campuses nation-wide.
 

“We went up there with three goals,” Gregory said. “One – for us, not only here at LSU but at the ASCA, to get a better understanding of what’s going on and the conversation being had in Washington. Two – to get the word out on student advocacy and explain exactly what we do at Student Advocacy and Accountability. And three – to talk with lawmakers about proposed legislation on how campuses must respond to these issues.”
 

Issues related to the Federal Government’s Title IX law on gender equity, as well as cases of sexual violence, have been a major part of the national discussion on the country’s college campuses. With members of congress proposing federal legislation, Gregory said that the ASCA is trying to be “proactive, and not reactive” in adapting to these guidelines before they become law.
 

“In many cases associations like this don’t want legislation,” said Gregory. “But in this case, we’re in favor of it, and we want to be at the table helping to craft it.”
 

The ASCA, a professional association for people who work in student conduct offices, released a report titled “Student Conduct Administration & Title IX: Gold Standard Practices for Resolution of Allegations of Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses,” explaining the obligations and recommended practices for institutions of higher education to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. This resource serves to guide institutions of higher education in understanding the core components of fundamentally fair student conduct procedures, determining institution-specific forms of resolution, and revising policies and procedures to be equitable to all students involved in the resolution process.
 

As a result, members of the ASCA were invited to Washington to meet with lawmakers, including members of Vice President Joe Biden’s staff on proposed legislation.
 

Gregory said that it is Student Advocacy and Accountability’s job to help students deal with these issues in an open and accessible manner that is fair to all parties involved.
 

“We’re not lawyers and judges,” he said. “The LSU Code of Student Conduct is our guiding document, and we want people to be aware of it.
 

“I think it’s important to know that we will listen,” Gregory added. “We want people to feel like they can come forward when they have something to report, and know that we take these reports seriously. This office is a great place to report any behavioral concern. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that happened to you, just something you saw that you think you need to talk about.”
 

As for the trip to the nation’s capital, which included a meeting in the White House, Gregory said that he’d like to go back some time when he could maybe take in the gravity of the experience.
 

“We spent so much time preparing for the meetings and what we were there to do, that it didn’t really set in until after that I had just been through the White House,” he said. “I need to go back and just take it all in again.”
 

LSU Student Advocacy and Accountability is located in the LSU Union’s third floor, Room 340. For more information, visit http://saa.lsu.edu/.

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations
225-578-3867
bgomila@lsu.edu

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014