California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, president Tom Jackson Jr. has apologized for remarks he made earlier this year that some observers considered an attempt to silence victims of sexual assault, according to The North Coast Journal.
Jackson’s controversial remarks came in a fall welcome speech, in which he called the university “a campus filled with secrets.” He alluded to the privacy of the Title IX process, which critics interpreted as an argument for keeping Title IX complaints out of public view, effectively discouraging victims from sharing their stories with news media.
“Title IX was designed to be private, confidential, to solve a problem between individuals, not meant to be public and scrutinized in the national media. That is not what it was designed for,” Jackson said, according to an excerpt of his remarks, which can be seen in full on YouTube.
Jackson’s apology came shortly after The North Coast Journal ran a story about a former women’s basketball player who alleged she’d been sexually battered during practice and that the university did not appropriately handle her Title IX claim, prompting her to transfer. The former player called out Jackson’s comments, saying, “It felt like he was speaking to me.”
Jackson apologized Monday in an email to the campus community, saying that his remarks on Title IX were “heard and perceived differently than I intended.” Jackson added that he failed to properly articulate “his true message of support” for those who have been victimized on campus.