Student protest leading to change at Dickinson College

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Students protesting at Dickinson College are making progress with the administration as hundreds of students are participating in a sit-in that began Monday.

Protestors are looking to change how the college responds to sexual assaults and have laid out a list of 17 demands to reform Title IX policies and procedures.

Dickinson College President Margee Ensign has agreed to nine of them since Monday.

“I’m really very proud of our students for their courage and their commitment to make sure that every student’s experience at Dickinson is the best it can be,” Ensign said.

She turned a regularly scheduled faculty meeting into an open session for protesting students Tuesday afternoon.

“They let anybody who wanted come up and speak about the issue or ask questions to the president of the college,” Rose McAvoy said.

McAvoy started the protest due to how her own case of sexual assault was handled and says this is only the beginning.

“All these policies that we’ve gotten, or even just the policies we got yesterday, if those were in place while I was going through the Title IX process, that would have completely changed that experience for me,” McAvoy said.

Some of the demands met include expelling students found guilty of rape, a 60-day investigation period, and weekly updates to both the respondent and complainant on the progress of their case.

Those changes will go into effect immediately.

“We’re dealing with the most sensitive issues that anyone can go through, the most traumatic, but there are also deep legal issues that are involved, so we just need to make sure that everything we do and all of our responses is within both Pennsylvania and the Title IX regulations,” Ensign said.

Ensign has committed to making this happen quickly, but for the sit-in to end, “We want to come to an agreement with the president of the college that will be written and signed so that we have actual confirmation and understanding that this will actually take place,” McAvoy said.

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