Hobart and William Smith officials discuss changes as classes begin

Created: 09/01/2014 1:09 PM WHEC.com

The system that is used to deal with sexual assaults on campus is on the minds of many Hobart and William Smith students on Monday as classes begin at the colleges.

This comes after a scathing New York Times report over the summer with allegations over how the college handled one case.

News10NBC was on-campus and found out what the president of the colleges is doing to counter negative publicity.

With the semester underway, Hobart and William Smith colleges are not ignoring the controversy of sexual assault on campus. In fact the president, Mark Gearan, is tackling the issue head on. Both at the convocation Monday night and with each of the 23 varsity sports teams.

Vice President of Student Affairs says, "All of our athletic programs, athletic teams, as they have their first team meeting of the fall. The president of the college will be there and one of my staff will be there to begin the conversation and talk about this throughout the year."

The New York Times highlighted an attack a freshman claims happened in a frat house, then a dance hall. Three football players were named, but after a college investigation, they were cleared of charges. Since the investigation, policies have changed. The grievance board has been revamped and a rape crisis hotline is being established. Student we talked to seemed satisfied with the changes.

Sophomore Kristina Garnett says, "I think they're going to be more careful in how they go through the system."

"Everyone still feels good being back and excited for the new year," says sophomore Annie Venditti.

Another thing supported by the administration is a recent vote by the interfraternity council to suspend hosting parties at the six on-campus frat houses. The suspension is indefinite.

And despite the controversy over the summer, the New York Times report did not have an impact on enrollment this year. The colleges say the target for the freshman class was 650 students and they exceeded that.

News10NBC will continue to follow how the changes are working and bring you updates as we get them.

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