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Penn State hosts virtual panel to discuss sexual misconduct at the university

 A panel answers questions from the community during Penn State's virtual town hall addressing sexual misconduct.
A panel answers questions from the community during Penn State's virtual town hall addressing sexual misconduct.

Penn State students have been alerted of 19 instances of sexual violence so far this semester via Timely Warning texts and emails.

On Monday, Penn State held a virtual panel to discuss sexual misconduct at the university, featuring Penn State President Eric Barron and other university leaders.

Barron opened the event, saying Penn State has worked to address sexual misconduct through strategies like establishing a taskforce and surveying students.

“While we’ve made progress, it’s clear from today’s discussion that there are areas that can be improved, and there’s much work left for all of us to do,” he said.

Barron and the other panelists answered questions submitted before the event.

Nora Van Horn, a member of the Schreyer Gender Equity Coalition, served as a student representative on the panel.

Van Horn said the university needs to do more to reduce sexual violence at Penn State. She noted three key changes she said are essential for the university to implement to decrease to frequency of sexual violence at Penn State. The changes include defining sexual violence correctly, investing in prevention efforts and being transparent with students.

“We can’t expect students to just do programming and attend events,” Van Horn said. “We need more transparency and accountability from the institution.”

Suzanne Adair, Penn State’s associate vice president for affirmative action, said they need to look more closely at the data to see if there are actually more incidents or if reporting is up.

“We understand that people feel uninformed about what’s actually happening, and we know that we’ve got to step up our game to make sure that we provide that data,” Adair said. “Collect it, analyze it, and then provide it so that we can determine necessary next steps.”