Archive - May 12, 2008
By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — A group of Middlebury College students hoping to overhaul the college’s nearly 20-year-old sexual assault policy is finding the administration is also ready for change.
Junior Aki Ito has been working with students, faculty and administrators drawing up a proposal to update the school’s policy, pushing for more preventative approaches to sexual violence and a more extensive support system for students who have experienced it.
“When you look at the handbook, it talks about what sexual assault is at Middlebury and how you can decide to proceed with a judicial proceeding, but it doesn’t talk about what that specifically entails,” Ito said. “What we want is every single step mapped out. We want a document that says if you’re sexually assaulted, these are the things you want to do, and then list every single thing that’s going to happen.”
But Ito and her team want more than a chapter in the college handbook.
They are proposing everything from mandatory attendance to a freshman orientation show that looks at dating, sex and rape on college campuses, to implementing a system to anonymously report sexual assaults, to hiring a response team that would handle every aspect of a victim’s recovery, including counseling and gathering evidence, should that person choose to press charges.
They are modeling their proposal after programs and policies they’ve found at other colleges, particularly Bowdoin College and Lewis and Clark College.
Last year the college’s Department of Public Safety received two reports of forcible sex offenses and the year before it received four. But students say many more incidents go unreported. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, less than 5 percent of college student rapes are reported to authorities.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Leaders of the Vermont State Craft Center at Frog Hollow (VSCC) are working diligently on a plan to wipe red ink from the organization’s ledger and put it on a strong financial foundation for the future.
Deidre Healy, recently hired as Frog Hollow’s executive director, confirmed last week the 37-year-old, nonprofit arts organization is seeking to raise $200,000 within the next six months to shore up a budget deficit and help meet ongoing operating expenses. She added her board of directors later this year will announce a $1 million fund-raising campaign to invest in Frog Hollow’s staff, educational resources, facilities and other measures to ensure the operation’s future survival. The VSCC currently consists of galleries and a wide range of educational programs in Middlebury, Burlington and Manchester.
“Frog Hollow has had a challenging few years, and we are committed to restoring the organization,” said Healy, who attributed the VSCC’s current financial problems to a “perfect storm” of events — highlighted by a downturn in the economy that has seen revenues slump.
This revitalization effort will not come in time to save the VSCC’s Manchester gallery, however. The VSCC established that gallery two years ago at 4716 Main St., but it has thus far failed to pay for itself. The gallery will soon close.
“The decision was a fiscal one,” Healy explained. “Fiscally, it just wasn’t performing. So we will focus our efforts in Middlebury and Burlington.”
Healey stressed the VSCC’s scheduled programs in Manchester will continue through the summer. The organization is working with other institutions to host some offerings, and has not ruled out re-establishing itself in Manchester in the future.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The fate of Middlebury Union High School’s student newspaper hangs in the balance as organizers wait to see if journalism class will be offered at MUHS next year.
And even if journalism class does makes the cut for the 2008-2009 course lineup at MUHS, leaders of The Tigers’ Print said they are apprehensive about putting out a newspaper they said is now carefully screened — posing the prospect of censorship — by school administrators before it is published.
“I think it’s kind of up in the air,” MUHS English teacher and journalism instructor Timothy O’Leary said of The Tigers’ Print and the school’s journalism program.
The Tigers’ Print was reinvigorated two years ago, after a hiatus of a few years, by three local parents who restarted the paper as a high school club activity. They formed an alliance with the Addison Independent, which published the paper pro bono for that first year within its regular Thursday publication roughly once a month.
The effort was successful enough that the high school administration incorporated The Tigers’ Print into a journalism class within the English department worthy of a full credit. The paper is written and assembled by about a dozen students in the class — mostly seniors — who usually spend one Sunday a month pulling it all together before the week of publication. It has continued to be published in the Independent this past school year on a monthly basis.