A recent column by Ronnie Polaneczky suggested that Temple University and its leadership are "tone-deaf" when it comes to addressing sexual violence, and that Temple ignores student opinions on the issue. The suggestion is wrong, and disparages the enormous efforts made toward eradicating sexual violence at the university.

Several years ago, a group of students asked Temple to consider establishing a stand-alone rape crisis center to house the university's resources in one place. The university researched the issue, listened to students'concerns, and consulted experts. Guided by these voices, who believed that a stand-alone building compromises confidentiality, Temple invested in a more effective alternative. In February 2017, Temple and Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) established a main campus satellite office. This safe, confidential reporting option provides 24/7 support and response. A Temple student who wants to report an incident of sexual violence can receive confidential on-campus support and counseling from a trained volunteer at any time. The university's response is immediate, but also it is intentionally dynamic and flexible, tailored to the needs of the individual student.

The Polaneczky column also takes issue with Temple board chair Patrick O'Connor's representation of Bill Cosby 13 years ago in a civil lawsuit filed by a former employee who had left the university. The north star of the legal profession is a duty to represent clients no matter the lawyer's or society's judgment of the merits of the accusation. Representing a client does not align the lawyer with the conduct or prevent the lawyer from standing up against the conduct.  Yet somehow, Polaneczky concludes that O'Connor's work as a lawyer should prevent him from caring about Temple and its students; or being recognized for the great progress that Temple has made under his leadership since 2009.

For nearly 40 years, O'Connor has put his time and money to work for countless students who have been marginalized and left out of meaningful educational opportunities. He has funded scholarships, activities and campus improvements, and on the issue of sexual misconduct, he has led our commitment to provide students with: counseling services; mandatory online sexual misconduct training; special training for athletes and members of fraternal organizations; online anonymous reporting options; advisers; transportation; a specially trained police force; a centralized sexual misconduct resources website; an external adjudicator to oversee sexual misconduct cases heard through our student conduct process; and a dedicated staff to centralize and strengthen Temple's compliance efforts.

For two years in a row, Temple has been a recipient of Pennsylvania's "It's on Us" grant to combat sexual misconduct on its campuses. Last year's grant allowed Temple to convene focus groups with unique student populations — including  students of color, international students, students with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ — who may face barriers to reporting and to then implement their suggestions.

Temple University remains dedicated to promoting its many access points for students who need help, and continuing to implement effective prevention strategies.

Valerie Harrison serves as a senior adviser for equity, diversity and inclusion at Temple University.