By Stephanie Dawber
On Nov. 4 in the Horace Mann Auditorium, President Dana Mohler-Faria hosted a forum regarding the previous sexual assaults on campus and the media coverage of English professor Sean Janson.
Mohler-Faria announced that Bridgewater State University is currently undergoing new policies for hiring faculty members. The new policy will no longer hire level 2 or 3 sex offenders on campus. However, there will be an exception, under a very unusual circumstance, where a sex offender can be employed if the president approves.
In reference to Janson, Mohler-Faria stated that the English professor self-disclosed his allegations in 2006, during his hiring process. The President admitted he “has no issues with this employee,” and “Don’t feel immediate danger with him, [but there are] some things we have to think about.”
Mohler-Faria repeatedly reiterated, “I do not care what the media says,” in reference to the media coverage of the Brockton Enterprise and other local news sources.
The President also stated that he will address the public in a press release, along with the Task Force, in December.
“What hurts you most is if you don’t stand up for what’s right or the values you hold. I will not waver in that,” he said.
Mohler-Faria and other faculty members agree that BSU students should come forward and report any potential dangerous situations. In order to prevent another assault from happening on campus, President Mohler-Faria elaborated that they will grant amnesty for students that have violated a campus policy, such as underage drinking.
“For folks who seem to possibly have violated a policy at the university, we do have the ability to give students what we refer to as amnesty. So it’s more of a safety for coming forward,” said Dr. Jason Pina, Vice President of Student Affairs.
“We all have the right to know what environment we’re in,” said Mohler-Faria.
When discussing with students how to improve campus safety, the President said, “How can we better communicate?”
Several BSU students offered their input, and suggested more email communication, along with frequent posts on Blackboard.
The President wants to improve the overall campus safety by adding new lighting, surveillance cameras and an updated transit system.
Further along, Mohler-Faria addressed campus assaults for the nation-at-large and admitted, “95% of sexual assaults are unreported.”
When discussing the sexual assaults that occurred on the BSU campus, Mohler-Faria disclosed, “Alcohol was part of the issue.”
The President proceeded to tell students about his previous stance against the town of Bridgewater, and his fight for bars to close at 1 a.m. Due to the dry campus and limited access of alcohol, Mohler-Faria said, “[There was an] 80% drop of crime [on BSU campus] because of alcohol.”
Overall, the audience consisted of concerned students and faculty. The forum allowed frequent open dialogue and for audience members to question the president. Mohler-Faria’s forum provided much needed communication and revealed that more of the truth will come out soon.
Stephanie Dawber is the News Editor of The Comment. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieDawber or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org