The Graduate Student Council (GSC) voted Wednesday to approve recommendations for changes to the Alternative Review Process (ARP) for sexual assault cases. The Undergraduate Senate approved the same recommendations on Tuesday, meaning the bill will now move to the Board of Judicial Affairs (BJA).
The BJA will decide whether to implement the suggested changes and may present a modified version of the ARP to the Faculty Senate in March.
At the end of fall quarter, a subcommittee of four GSC members held four joint meetings with a subcommittee of the Undergraduate Senate to discuss the ARP. The two committees drafted identical recommendations to submit to the BJA.
“We definitely spent the time and put the effort in and did our best to think through all the issues,” said ARP subcommittee member Camille Fletcher J.D. ’13. “I was happy with our suggestions.”
Although the Undergraduate Senate and GSC will vote again on the ARP in its entirety before it is approved, the BJA is expected to present a tentative plan of modifications to the Faculty Senate in March, according to Undergraduate Senator Viraj Bindra ’15. After soliciting feedback from the Faculty Senate, the BJA will send the ARP back to the ASSU’s legislative bodies for a vote.
Some of the significant changes suggested in the Undergraduate Senate and GSC’s proposal include the removal of a section that states that past sexual history can be relevant if it is offered as evidence of consent, the addition of a clause that requires a review of the ARP if the federal government’s interpretation of a sexual assault’s standard of proof changes and the addition of another faculty or staff member to the ARP panel.
The Chair read the proposed changes to GSC members and explained the implications of these changes. At several points, GSC members asked ARP subcommittee members for clarifications of statements and requested examples of how proposed changes would operate in a sexual assault case.
The GSC’s longest discussion centered on whether sexual history was relevant in ARP cases. Members from the GSC subcommittee noted that this was a particularly contentious issue during the joint meeting with the Undergraduate Senate and said that the BJA will be discussing it further.
“We fought really hard over it,” Fletcher said. “There is some disagreement over it, and the BJA is still going to go back and look at it.”
Other main points discussed were the preponderance of evidence standard of proof and system of cross-examination.
All 10 voting members present at the meeting approved sending the changes to the BJA. Five voting members were absent, including GSC Co-chairs David Hsu, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, and Michael Shaw Ph.D. ’13. Sjoerd De Ridder Ph.D. ’13 chaired the meeting in their absence.