On the Rutgers Campus in New Brunswick Thursday, students took advantage of the warm early autumn weather, most likely oblivious to the changes occurring around them as the state’s largest university took a big step toward updating its sexual harassment policy, just hours after a report by NJ Advance Media showed the university failed to investigate claims of sexual harassment that were older than two years, or the standard statute of limitations. Susan Livio wrote the story with Kelly Heyboer.
On behalf of former students from the late ’90s and early 2000s who – as the #metoo movement was exploding – came forward with their stories, only to be met by a shrug from university officials.
Even though the university’s policy on the statute of limitations didn’t differ much from say the state Legislature’s recently updated policy, Rutgers President Robert Barchi took the surprising step of unilaterally changing it within hours of the report.
Livio said she was surprised at how quickly the university shifted gears.
“There were some students who thought, well, if that’s all it took, we need to get out here more and speak more because that’s going to get coverage and that’s going to make change,” she said.
News of the change spread through a student demonstration Wednesday night and at least some students Thursday were calling it a win.
Rutgers Junior Regina Hall said discussion of the policy was a net positive for students, male and female.
The OEE review will look at staffing levels and training as well as the overall university policy. Barchi said the review should be completed by the end of the month.