The OIE’s mishandling of this case is particularly egregious, given JHU’s systemic failure to take sexual violence seriously. JHU is involved in an ongoing federal investigation after the institution failed to inform students about repeated sexual assaults at a fraternity in 2014. Due to this failure to share information, students continued to frequent the fraternity for over a year, demonstrating that the university prized its reputation over student safety. Like these incidents, in this case, the university’s failure to inform the community of Professor Juan Obarrio’s assault puts other students at risk. In the wake of the assault, Professor Obarrio has not exhibited any remorse for his actions. He has responded instead by sexualizing the victim’s body, emphasizing his utility to the university, and absolving himself with the claim of a blurry memory of the incident. Meanwhile, Professor Obarrio remains on JHU’s payroll.
1) Revoke Juan Obarrio’s tenure. Someone who has committed assault and has shown no remorse deserves no place in the Johns Hopkins community;
2) Enable transparency. This process has made both witnesses and complainants afraid of reporting and discussing assault, harassment and abuse; a) Disclose rubrics used to decide upon sanctions against the respondent during the investigation period; b) Form a committee with student stakeholders, including survivors and alumni, to reevaluate Title IX procedures that have consistently failed us; c) Develop a system of accountability, ensuring clear directives, notifications of procedures, and communication of outcomes;
3) Process all complaints thoroughly and swiftly. Sensitivity to survivors and witnesses calls for minimizing the number of times they are asked to tell and retell their stories; a) Invest in a specialized mental health services unit for those affected by sexual misconduct. This unit would limit the harmful impacts of the trial on student health, and facilitate more sensitive coordination with the OIE; b) Investigate anonymously-reported cases thoroughly. Cases raised by students, who are vulnerable to repercussions for reporting, must be considered seriously; c) Employ trained legal and mental health advocates, familiar with Title IX proceedings, to support survivors at hearings and meetings; d) Train OIE officers on mental health and the existing counseling resources;
4) Take necessary action in accordance with its own existing definition of sexual assault; a) Comply with JHU Sexual Misconduct Policy’s definition of sexual assault as non- consensual “intentional touching of the intimate parts of another person,” “any body part that is touched in a sexual manner,” “sexual acts or sexual contact against a person’s will or without consent,” and “sexual battery; sexual coercion” as sexual assault; b) Issue a public statement denouncing Obarrio’s actions, addressing the mishandling of this case, and outlining concrete steps for responding to our demands.