Bob Davies: International Students, Sexual Assault Reporting, Finalizing University Strategic Plan

May 5, 2015

Credit Dr. Bob Davies, Twitter

Murray State University President Dr. Bob Davies says the university's strategic plan process is in “the final stretch” and will be presented to the Board of Regents June 6.

Davies also discussed the institution’s reaction to a Murray State News article alleging difficulty for students reporting sexual assault to university officials and the review of reporting procedures. 

Below you can hear the full interview with Davies.  

Davies recently returned from an academic advancement trip to China, South Korea and Taiwan to meet with MSU’s global education partners and talk with past and future MSU international students.  Davies says solidifying these partnerships allow for variety of fields of study for international students.

“The equine agriculture program is one that has a significant draw," said Davies. "Business, economics, accounting, international business. I talked to one student who was pre-law. English, theater; it really is a very wide range.

“The students are looking forward to being immersed in the American culture, learning from our students, learning from our faculty, and then taking that back to their home country and fostering that cultural diversity. It’s very exciting to talk with them."

Sexual Assault Policies

An April 17th Murray State News article insinuated that a person seeking support after an alleged off-campus sexual assault by another MSU student faced challenges receiving support or disciplinary action against the accused.  Davies says the article struck a chord and that the university is currently reviewing its own practices.

“One of the things that’s been highlighted across the country is how universities deal with sexual assault and sexual harassment with its faculty, staff and students. The news article prompted us, but we’ve been looking at these policies and procedures since the initial board meeting last August with regard to all the highlights that’s occurred nationally.  We’ve been reviewing those elements and this has brought things to a pinnacle. 

"We are going through a review process to make sure that we have sound policies and our procedures are mimicking those.  We also want to make sure that all the offices involved are communicating; I think that was a key issue in this particular case that we need to strengthen."

Davies acknowledges that many universities, including Murray State, mandate that every student, faculty and staff member must undergo an sexual assault and harassment online course, but the follow-up activities are much more voluntary. 

“One of the things that we’ll probably end up doing is making those required,” said Davies.

In his email address to the MSU community after the article was published, Davies says he identifies to the situation not only as an institution head but also as a father.  He says having both lenses affords him a humanistic approach as well as a legal one. 

“I can’t just turn one of those off,” said Davies. “I think it’s important we look at it from that perspective to make sure that we do have that humanistic side as we deal with these very, very difficult issues.” 

Strategic Planning

Davies also says that the university’s strategic  planning process is in final stages before it is to be presented to the MSU Board of Regents for approval in June. 

“Going off the Kentucky Derby theme, you can say we’re in the final stretch,” said Davies.  “The plan itself has come together very, very smoothly.  I really appreciate the considerable amount of effort from our various committee members on the task forces and the multiple opportunities for faculty, staff and students and community members to provide insight and input.  I think we have four outstanding large objectives that will guide us through the changes higher education is going through over the next seven to ten years.”