Sexual assault forum draws student groups

The Student Government Association and the office of the dean of students held a forum to discuss the distinction between intoxication and incapacitation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in the Fiesta Room. The forum featured proposed statements from a number of student organizations which were used as points of discussion during the forum itself.

“I’m interested to see what thoughts students will bring forward and what will come of the discussion,” said David Tuttle, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, before the forum.

The student groups selected to take part in the forum were the Student Conduct Board, Student Government Association, Residential Life student staff and Greek Council. The groups were contacted early in September and created individual statements of points they desired to be discussed and their own conclusions on how to define intoxication and incapacitation. In addition to the selected student organizations, the forum was also open to members of the community to attend. Members of TUPD were present, as well as professors and other members of several departments, including Reverend Stephen Nickle.

“We all agreed on the need for clarification,” said Student Conduct Board co-chair Barbara Berkova.

Tuttle began the forum by introducing the groups present. Each group then presented their findings and answered questions and engaged in discussion that developed from their statements. The goal of the forum, as defined by Tuttle at the beginning of the evening, was not to leave with a new policy crafted. Instead, the goal of the forum was to generate discussion and intake ideas for future decisions.

The forum spanned from 5:30 p.m. to almost 7 p.m, with much discussion involving the interest in creating a definition of the division between intoxication and incapacitation, as well as a conclusion among those who attended the forum that a definition of each condition might be distributed to students in the future, allowing them to better recognize these states. Should this come to pass, there might also be scenarios included of a variety of situations which students can use to apply their knowledge and make decisions on what they ought to do in these hypothetical situations. Trinity University police chief Paul Chapa noted the complexity of cases and stressed the fact that even with a clear definition in place, there are many factors to be considered when investigating. After each group presented their own views on the subject, there was discussion after each groups and those attending the forum, and this lead to discoveries of overlapping ideas and differences between their statements, further contributing to the complexity of the discussion.

“On the ground, we are really looking for [a definition] that you can remember,” said greek council representative John Peterson.

The forum achieved its goal of inspiring an active discussion of the definitions of intoxication and incapacitation. The conclusion of the forum was with the intent to go forward and better define what measures could be taken with regards to the definition within policy, as well as what information would be distributed.

“Striving to find a clear question [of intoxication versus incapacitation] is going to be limited,” said first year Caroline Grand. “I feel like we all came to the conclusion that we know it is a difficult subject.”