Last month, Stanford hired a dean for sexual assault and relationship abuse. Stanford, not necessarily the poster child for sexual assault, took the time and money to hire Angela Exson, who has a background in dealing with violence in relationships, and the only place where it was mentioned was The Stanford Daily. There were no outcries over the way the campus’s money was spent, yet other than a few Facebook posts, no cheer either. Although this is coming a bit late, I still want to say thank you, Stanford.
Honestly, my first thought was why? I have no doubt that our school’s students suffer from relationship issues as much as students at other colleges but I had never heard of someone going as far as getting a dean for this problem. So of course I looked it up – I skimmed through website after website where sexual assault had been relegated to subdivision of student affairs. And my question changed to why not? Why hasn’t any other college done this? (If you do know other examples feel free to share.) It’s not the same as health and wellness guidelines or campus safety rules – when these cases happen they deserve expert handling, they deserve guidance from someone who understands.
As I said before, our school might not be the poster child for sexual assault but maybe it can be the poster child for handling it with the respect these situations warrant. So welcome, Dean Exson. I hope for a student body more accountable not only for their actions, but their response to things that happen to their peers. I don’t expect change overnight, but with this new position, and Stanford’s other new policy concerning rape, it’s nice to know that our school wants to do more to raise awareness among our student body.