Her statement was highly critical of the Monteverde Institute's executive director, Debra Hamilton, who the student says was preoccupied with legal waivers and pushed her to report the crime to authorities days after the assault.
statement had called for Hamilton
to step down.
"I cannot continue in the knowledge that she
has not only not been reprimanded for how she
treated me, but that the very people who helped me have been punished instead," she
In a detailed statement to the Gazette this week, Hamilton, the Monteverde Institute's executive director, wrote that the institute has already begun a review of its emergency response protocols for sexual assault and hired a crisis management consultant.
It plans to form a task force of staff, medical and legal professionals and women's groups to evaluate and revise the institute's emergency response protocols as well as student orientation and staff training.
"The staff and board of the Monteverde Institute
are deeply saddened by the events of the past few months," Hamilton
"We are committed to improving; we will share what we learn with our colleagues working in study-abroad programs in hope that they can benefit from our experience."
The task force, she
wrote, "will work with each sending school to pinpoint any discrepancies between their protocols, (Monteverde Institute's) protocols and Costa Rican law - and to determine how to resolve them."
Hamilton said the institute shares the goal of ensuring the health and safety of students studying abroad, but cautioned that in the event of a student assault, the requirements of Costa Rican law and its international interpretations, the protocols of U.S.-based sending institutions and the Monteverde Institute, and a student's decision about how to respond may not all be in accordance with one another.
"The situation is not unique to the Monteverde Institute or Costa Rica
," wrote Hamilton
did not respond to questions about the victim's allegations of mistreatment and insensitivity on her
stated that the institute stands behind its policy of supporting students with a range of services, including medical, psychological and legal help in Costa Rica.
"Based on student feedback, we are considering how we and the sending schools orient students before and upon arrival in Costa Rica," Hamilton
wrote in a statement on behalf of the institute.
"We are also considering adjustments to the policy of how we allow college students to 'check-out' from the institute's supervision to travel to other
parts of the country.
We are working to ensure the MVI
staff are prepared to launch a coordinated team response to a crisis situation."
wrote that the institute has already identified "gray areas" in the procedures outlined by sending schools regarding international protocols and interpretations of Title IX, the federal regulation that provides legal protections for U.S. students, including victims of sexual assaults.
"Some sending school protocols, generally developed for use in the U.S., don't necessarily provide guidance for all situations or anticipate the complexities of circumstances in a different country," Hamilton