Task Force to Address Gender-Based Violence in San Diego State University

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SDSU President Adela de la Torre announced the new task force, which will be chaired by Monica Casper, a nationally recognized expert in gender, sexuality, health and trauma.

De la Torre has appointed College of Arts & Letters dean Monica J. Casper to chair the Blue Ribbon Task Force. Casper has also been appointed Special Assistant to the President on Gender-Based Violence. Both roles become effective Feb. 13.

“As educators, our work to end sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence continues to demand our immediate intervention,” said de la Torre. “Within colleges and universities, we continue to see alarming rates of sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence in particular – even one instance is too many.”

The Blue Ribbon Task Force will be formed this spring.

“I am honored for this unique opportunity to focus my energy and expertise on addressing gender-based violence in collegiate environments, both close to home and elsewhere,” said Casper, a nationally recognized expert in gender, sexuality, health and trauma. “This new role will allow me to serve not only our college, but the entire university and well beyond.”

The task force group’s charge will be to assess and understand the problem nationally within collegiate environments, identify recommendations and practices to support survivors at all levels, and recommend systems “that will position SDSU not just as a leader in the CSU in reducing gender-based violence, broadly, but as a national leader in addressing instances on college campuses,” de la Torre said.

In chairing this Presidential Task Force Group, Casper will convene experts from other universities and organizations focused on gender-based violence, as well as students, staff, faculty, administrators and community members from SDSU.

“National statistics only reflect a small portion of a deeply troubling reality, especially as we know that not all sexual assault is reported. This issue demands our attention and, even more, our action for both the prevention of gender-based violence and the support of survivors everywhere,” said Casper, who co-founded the Consortium on Gender-Based Violence at the University of Arizona prior to her time at SDSU.

As part of her new role, Casper also will advise de la Torre and other campus leaders on gender-based violence policy, expand training offerings, and provide recommendations on support structures and efforts.

“Gender-based violence aims to understand and tackle the societal norms and behaviors which are at the root of the problem. This effort is meant to be research-informed, action-driven, and relevant to collegiate environments everywhere,” de la Torre continued.

“I am especially grateful to the many faculty, staff and student leaders who have introduced programs, initiatives, and proactive and preventive interventions to address sexual assault over the last four years,” she added. “Some of this work has been shaping conversations and actions not only here, but in communities elsewhere. With this expanded area of focus, our community will drive further efforts in support of prevention and in support of survivors.”

As Casper transitions into her new roles Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa has appointed Senior Associate Dean Ronnee Schreiber to serve as interim dean of the college, effective Feb. 1.