Central College News

Statement from Central College President Mark Putnam

April 29, 2014

In these last few days we’ve been especially focused as an institution as well as a nation on the many issues that surround sexual assaults on college campuses. Like all of our colleagues at other colleges and universities across the country, Central has been working hard to respond to and address recent guidance from the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice and yesterday from President Obama, in addition to implementing lessons learned from the many conferences and workshops we have attended related to campus-based responses to sexual misconduct. Though we have revised our policy framework and many internal processes in the course of this year, that work continues. In sum, we’ve made steady progress but we acknowledge our work is not yet done.

In this instance, change is not only a good thing, but also a necessity. As is the case with many institutions of higher education, and as this topic has come to the forefront of the national conversation, we too, have heard from alumni who share their frustrations about prior years where awareness, response and judicial procedures were not consistent with what is expected today. To them and all of our current students, we say, we will do better.

To that end, I have recommended that under the leadership of our board chair, an external and independent review be completed on our campus which will examine our initial response, policy frameworks and judicial procedures related to sexual misconduct in all its forms. We recently have engaged the outside firm of trainED, based in Minneapolis, Minn., to lead the review. We are eager to learn more from this external expert through its findings and stand ready to implement any recommendations that may be brought forward to the board of trustees.

Our greatest desire is to care for the well-being of our students. As is obvious from nationwide and local news accounts, this is a big mountain for every institution to climb, but there is nothing we care about more than the safety of those who attend and work at our college.

In the meantime, we will continue to work through the specifics of any matters reported within our campus in accordance with our existing policies and procedures. We appreciate the opportunity to care for our students and are committed to following legal, state and federal procedures while we do so.