June 3rd, 2014 | University

Network to advocate for improved sexual assault response

Alumni from the University have joined with fellow graduates from more than a dozen other colleges to create a network to pressure institutions of higher education, including Yale, to improve their handling of sexual assault cases on campus.

The network’s name and its full list of participants has yet to be publicized, but multiple members told the Huffington Post on Sunday that the group plans to hold its first conference call this Thursday. Although organizers said the network is not capping numbers and is looking to expand to more alumni bases, most of the schools represented so far are highly selective Eastern colleges. They include every Ivy League school except Cornell and Princeton and a number of highly-ranked liberal arts colleges such as Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore.

Elizabeth Amini, a graduate from Occidental College, said to the Huffington Post that the group seeks to begin a dialogue with university administrators. Still, if a university’s administrators are not receptive to the network’s proposals, Amini added that the group would tell foundations, donors and even high school counselors that the respective university has a major safety concern and is not addressing it fully. Alumni are also willing to withhold money for certain schools until they reassess their sexual misconduct policies.

She said the alumni group could be a powerful force for change because of the network’s institutional memory and the alumni’s financial influence. She added some of the group members are now at the point of the career where they are heads of successful law firms or companies.

The group, in some ways, resembles groups such as Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus, which were formed by students and alumni in an effort to advise and educate students on filing complaints against their schools according to the Huffington Post.

In May, the U.S. Department of Education released the names of the 55 colleges currently under investigation for Title IX violations.