On Sunday, Feb. 6, the University of Connecticut’s Interim President Radenka Maric addressed the issue of sexual assault and intimate partner violence on campus in a letter to the UConn community.
The university’s statement is in response to discussions happening within the campus community after UConn student Alexandra Docken stood in protest outside the Rowe Center for Undergraduate Education on Thursday. Docken held two cardboard signs up, one of which read, “I was raped and UConn silenced me.”
Maric began her letter by clarifying that while UConn cannot discuss individual students or specific cases, there is “a great deal we can say more broadly.”
“First and foremost: I want you to know that the health, safety, and well-being of all our students is our highest priority,” said Maric. “UConn abhors sexual violence in all its forms and does all it can to provide victims with compassionate care, resources, and much-needed support in the face of their trauma.”
Maric then spoke of the university’s commitment to preventing and addressing sexual assault through effective strategies, adding that policies and procedures alone are not a solution.
“We want to eradicate sexual violence,” Maric said. “But policies and procedures alone will not achieve this. We need to work together to continually shape a culture on our campuses that is rooted in respect, awareness, supporting one another, and an extreme intolerance towards any form of sexual violence.”
Maric then asked the community: “What more must we do to support victims and increase education and awareness throughout our community?”
To answer that question, Maric said she and Dean of Students Eleanor Daugherty will be asking students, staff and faculty to assess the university’s current educational programs and processes regarding sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
Maric closed the letter with a reminder that she and many of UConn’s administrators are also parents who want safety and security for both their own families and the students.
“The safety and security we want for our students is the same safety and security we would want for our own families,” Maric added. “Every student should know that you are not alone. I care about you and am here to listen or help in any way I can, as are many others at UConn.”
At the end of her statement, Maric referenced the Office of Institutional Equity website for more information and resources regarding sexual assault, harassment, stalking and intimate partner violence.