Audit report provides ideas on reporting, not preventing, sexual violence

by Elpin Keshishzadeh, Assistant Opinion Editor

Hold on to your seats, Aztecs—the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence audit report for San Diego State University has been released.

Just in case you’re not an all-things-SDSU news junkie, here’s what’s been happening: Obama wasn’t too thrilled with the rate of sexual harassment and violence on college campuses, so he put together a task force to combat the issue. In turn, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee selected four California universities, our dear SDSU included, to be audited.

Regardless of what school officials say, these university picks were not random. According to the official report, the universities were selected because they did not “consistently [comply] with requirements in state law for distribution of policies to inform students and university employees of how to appropriately respond to and handle incidents of sexual violence and sexual harassment.”

Realistically, reputation seems to have a lot to do with being audited, and apparently University of California, Berkley is not the only one with a bad rep for mishandling sexual harassment cases. According to the official report, an unnamed SDSU adviser failed to report a sexual harassment incident a student communicated because this adviser felt no further action was necessary. The student who reported the initial incident was allegedly harassed by the same individual a year later.

That being said, I think we can all agree that our university was selected for audit not at random, but for a valid reason.

I won’t bore you with the 107 pages worth of details, but it is important to understand the main points that were recommended to SDSU.

The six pages of recommendations for SDSU mainly consist of ways to improve how sexual harassment reports are handled and provide guidelines on how to train those who receive the reports.

Out of 19 recommendations made, only two actually involved educating students on sexual harassment and violence. Unfortunately, these recommendations specifically targeted incoming students for they are “the most vulnerable to experiencing an incident of sexual harassment or sexual violence in their first weeks on campus.”

This audit wasn’t conducted to address concerns of harassed students. Instead, it was just conducted to measure how well our faculty is trained to take down a report and follow up.

Maybe if we were teaching our youth that sexually harassing another individual is wrong and intolerable, we wouldn’t need to waste time and task forces on writing reports about how bad we are at reporting these (all too common) crimes.