The President of BYU released a video statement on campus sexual assault. The three-minute statement comes amid accusations by Madi Barney, current student, that BYU has disregarded her sexual assault.
“They’re saying they can’t prove that a rape happened, so they can’t provide the services they would provide to a rape victim,” said Barney to The Huffington Post.
Traditionally survivors of sexual assault are allowed changes in their academic schedule, living arrangements or other changes that would facilitate their reintegration back on campus. But, since Barney’s alleged rape happened off campus and was not reported to the school itself, BYU is limiting the support offered to her and instead has made her the focal point of a review on the ways in which she broke the Mormon university’s honor code.
“Although Barney says she did not report what happened to BYU, the school contacted her in late November after getting a copy of a police report related to her case. In an email obtained by HuffPost, the school told Barney the police report provided ‘information that you have engaged in behavior that violates the BYU Honor Code.’”
The Huffington Post piece that explains how the police report made it to BYU administrator’s hands without the consent of Barney comes a day before President Worthen’s statements in a video meant to reassure the BYU community and survivors of sexual assault that BYU is on their side:
“The victim of sexual assault is never responsible for the sexual assault, you’re not at fault. Then I would say, come in and get the help that can be provided.”
Since Barney has been unable to receive the help that President Worthen states the University offers, she has proceeded to file a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. According to the Huffington Post, Barney would like the school to be held accountable, “for putting her on academic hold and failing to help her withdraw from classes after she reported being raped to police.”
The University stands by its Honor Code and President Worthen further emphasized that the University is trying its best to abide by Title IX regulations, even going as far as to explain a study on campus sexual assault that is being conducted at BYU.
“That study really is to help us determine how we can best use those tools we have, the Title IX process and the Honor Code process together,” states President Worthen.
BYU’s Honor Code calls for students to abstain from sex, alcohol, drugs, coffee, and tea, among other behaviors.