The leader of an external team of experts that reviewed the campus culture on sexual assault at the University of New Mexico will present the highlights of that report this week. Jill Pilgrim headed the four-member team that spent several weeks interviewing individuals on campus last fall to determine how well the UNM community is meeting its obligations in reporting and responding to allegations of sexual violence.
University Counsel, the legal arm of UNM, commissioned the review in September in response to an anonymous complaint regarding an alleged sexual assault that involved campus housing and athletics.
“While the serious concern of sex assaults on college campuses was getting attention nationwide, UNM wanted to be ahead of it, to be leaders rather than followers in providing all students with fair process in the handling of complaints,” said Elsa Kircher Cole, University Counsel. “This report will now provide guidelines and recommendation on the best approach to dealing with this complex issue.”
The team, Pilgrim & Associates, was ideally qualified for this review with its extensive work in the areas of sexual violence and federal anti-discrimination laws pertaining to campuses. Pilgrim, owner and founder of the firm, has a background in dealing with sensitive issues, ensuring their processes are fair, balanced and clear.
Pilgrim will present the highlights of her team’s report to the campus at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in the Atrium of the Student Union Building. Following her presentation, UNM Dean of Students Tomás Aguirre will discuss the university’s proactive steps to dealing with sexual assault and how UNM will incorporate the Pilgrim report recommendations. Both Pilgrim and Aguirre will be available for a question and answer session following the presentation.
Another member of the Pilgrim team, Rita Smith, who specializes in domestic violence and sexual assault issues, has also worked with the National Football League in addressing domestic violence. She will join Pilgrim and Aguirre at 11 a.m. for a panel discussion led by UNM student government. Students and other campus members are invited to ask questions and offer suggestions regarding the handling of sexual assault.