Nov 052009
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

To combat what student government officials said is inadequate investigation of sexual assault cases on campus, the Associate Students of CSU voted to create a new assault task force to examine university data Wednesday night.

The Interpersonal Violence Task Force resolution passed 20-3 with four senators passing and, after the university saw 100 reports of sexual assault — only seven of which were actually investigated, the task force intended to look into the university’s current sexual assault investigation protocol and propose possible changes.

In addition, officials said it will support assault victims, gather survivor stories and work to implement other support systems for victims.

Joe Howard, senator for the College of Liberal Arts, drafted the bill and said the main goal of the legislation is to provide a system of support for victims. While addressing the perpetrator is important, for Howard, the focus is on the survivors.

“Knowing that one in every four women in Colorado is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual assault means one-seventh of my constituents, statistically,/is a survivor,” Howard said.

The bill appoints Norberto Valdez, associate professor of Ethnic Studies, to advise the committee because of his extensive interpersonal violence research and his wide knowledge of the university system, Howard said.

One chairperson and two cochairs will head the task force, and Howard said he hopes having a diverse group of people sitting on the committee will “foster compromise.”

“I don’t want there to be one voice that controls everything. I want this to be a committee where diverse people can come together and work together,” he said.

While the majority of Senate supported the legislative motion, senator for the College of Natural Science Keegan Schulz, who sits on the University Issues Committee, abstained from the vote and said he doesn’t support the legislation.

He said he would support the bill if another university entity was responsible for the creation of a task force.

“I do wholeheartedly like the idea of a task force, and as much as I’d like to help the victims, I don’t think it’s necessarily proper for Senate to start this.”

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at

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