Arizona State University Settlement Reforms Harassment and Assault Policies
A settlement of $850,000 from a 2004 rape case has resulted in reform of sexual harassment and misconduct response policies at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. An unnamed victim accused student-athlete Darnel Henderson of rape in 2004 and filed a lawsuit alleging that Arizona State had "placed her in a dangerous position," ESPN reported. Henderson had previously been expelled after being accused of rape, sexual harassment, and exposing himself and was then readmitted at the request of the head football coach. Despite a campus police investigation that determined rape had occurred in the 2004 incident, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office did not prosecute, reported The Arizona Republic.
As a result of the settlement, a new Office of Student Safety will document and report statewide university responses to reports of sexual harassment and assault. One key term of the settlement requires the appointment of a high-level security officer at each university who will not only meet with students, but will also spearhead reform after reviewing current policies related to sexual harassment and assault, according to The Arizona Republic.
Diane Rosenfeld, an expert on women's violence issues and lecturer at Harvard Law School, told ESPN that "this could be our turning point. Instead of privileging athletes, we will now approach the goal of a culture of sexual respect." She believes other schools will respond to the Arizona State case with increased vigilance about sexual harassment and assault.
Media Resources: The Arizona Republic 2/3/09; Associated Press 2/3/09; ESPN 1/30/09; Feministing 2/4/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .