On Friday, administrators at Brigham Young University announced the appointment of two new staff members to help the school deal with instances of sexual assault on campus.
The new appointments come after several victims of sexual assault came forward last year saying the university punished them academically after they reported being assaulted, including one student who was disciplined by not being allowed to register for classes. The main complaint was that the university’s Title IX office, which protects against sexual discrimination, was too closely aligned with the school’s Honor Code office, which monitors student conduct.
Tiffany Turley is the new Title IX Coordinator at BYU. She says the two offices are now separated by different floors and by the information they get to see.
"As far as sharing information about victims and situations surrounding a sexual assault, none of that will be shared with the Honor Code. That’s kind of the rule from here on out. The offices will not share information in that regard anymore," Turley says.
The school also appointed a current on-campus counselor to be the university’s first full-time victim’s advocate. That job will be held by psychologist Lisa Leavitt.
"She’ll be a confidential and privileged communicator with anyone who comes forward and discloses a sexual assault. So if someone maybe still does have some concern about report or anything like that, they’re free to go to her and she can explain all the different resources and information without any sort of report being made," Turley says.
Turley, who is a BYU grad and a victim of sexual assault herself, says she hopes that these positions will make clear to students that being a victim is not a violation of the university’s Honor Code.