UPDATE: Title IX external review firm identified and anonymous external reporting link is live

Cozen O’Connor is the external firm conducting the expanded review. They’ve set-up a webpage where anyone wishing to report inappropriate interactions anonymously may do so by clicking here.


From: Michael S. Roth
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 5:35 PM
Subject: Campus Update

Dear friends,

Since the news last week that former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer had been arrested, we’ve sought and received feedback to guide our next steps. Though the alleged incident leading to this arrest occurred some time after Mr. Backer had been terminated from Wesleyan, it has nevertheless created anguish among survivors and prompted renewed scrutiny of his conduct here. As I’ve said before, I am sorry that Wesleyan ever hired this man, and that had he not lied about his previous conduct, the university never would have done so. I deeply regret the pain that this has caused many members of our community.

Last year when we became aware of Mr. Backer’s history and promptly fired him, we brought in a leading national outside firm to audit the Title IX cases with which he had been involved. The auditors found that he had followed the university’s policies and procedures in his handling of thesecases. Given recent developments, we’ve decided to extend the independent review by professionals in the field.

Again, we also want to hear from any member of the Wesleyan community who wishes to report inappropriate interactions with Mr. Backer. Wesleyan community members will have the option of reporting to the firm, either anonymously or not, or to Debbie Colucci in the Office for Equity & Inclusion. Contact information and updates will be posted on the Equity@Wesleyan website. Information gathered from these interviews, in addition to the recommendations from the Victim Rights Law Center, will help us to improve our policies and procedures going forward. We will also share information with law enforcement as appropriate. The resulting report will be made public, while protecting individual confidentiality, in the fall semester.

I take our responsibility to protect our students and employees extremely seriously, and I am fully committed to promoting a campus free from sexual assault and harassment. You may direct any questions about the review to me or to Debbie Colucci at dcolucci@wesleyan.edu.

Yours truly,
Michael S. Roth