Campus Sexual Assault Followup: Steve Clark Speaks

Last week, we published an investigative feature, shedding light on incomplete data over reports of campus sexual assault at OSU, as well as insufficient training procedures, and instances of neglect by administrative advocates and investigators. We exampled this through survivor and former student, Kathleen Cases’s story, of being shut out and revictimized by OSU after reporting her assault to the Survivor Advoccy Resource Center and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Case’s story opened the floor to conversations on the meanings and connotations of assault and consent, and their systematic implementations. 

This week, we asked OSU executives, involved in the story, for comment. Here’s what we heard back:

Steve Clark, the Vice President of University Relations and Marketing, was the only one to answer any follow-up questions posed by The Advocate. When asked about SARC’s lack of reporting procedures, Clark explained that the purpose of SARC is not for reporting, but for providing confidential services. He elaborated that the EOA tracks the number of cases it receives and provides them in a yearly report for the Clery Act.

However, it is unclear whether the numbers provided by the Clery report represent, in total, all sexual assault investigations conducted yearly by EOA. No response was given by EOA officials or Clark when asked how many investigations were conducted by EOA equity associates in 2016, so far in 2017, or on average, given an equity associate’s caseload.

Clark stated that SARC does not keep track of numbers because tracking is not their role. He said he would get back to The Advocate with the budget for SARC, which he committed to, along with budgets of other offices dealing in campus sexual assault, per a deadline prior to last week’s publication.

Clark also mentioned OSU’s implementation of a “phenomenal increase of services” for victims of sexual assault. 

About the Advocate’s article, he stated, “We respect the right of journalists to express their opinion, but it was incomplete.”

Besides Clark, no others at OSU have responded to any questions, including: Ed Ray (president of OSU), Judy Neighbours (associate director of SARC), Hope Brian (equity officer at OSU), Clay Simmons (chief compliance officer and interim compliance director of Equal Opportunity and Access office at the time of the incident covered in the story), and Kim Kirkland (current executive director of Equal Opportunity and Access). Kirkland’s assistant directed all questions to Steve Clark.

By Kristen Edge