Sexual Respect at Oxy
Sexual misconduct and violence on college campuses is a serious national problem from which Oxy regrettably is not exempt.
We want to foster a culture that rejects sexual violence and educates community members about how best to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus. We encourage all members of our community to participate in the process of creating a safe, welcoming and respectful environment on campus. The College is committed to taking the following specific, concrete actions immediately.
Actions Already Taken
Oxy retained Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez, nationally recognized experts in sexual misconduct, to review its policies on sexual violence and to offer guidance on improving campus programs addressing these issues.
Based on the work of Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez, the College implemented new interim sexual misconduct policies and procedures in August that will be in effect for the 2013-14 academic year, subject to a comprehensive review by the new Sexual Misconduct Advisory Board.
We formed a permanent Sexual Misconduct Advisory Board to provide ongoing review of policies, practices, procedures, and programming relevant to sexual misconduct. The board is charged with making evidence-based recommendations (using data on reporting and outcomes from the offices of the Title IX coordinator, the Dean of Students office, and Campus Safety) for changes to policies, procedures, and practices to the president and vice presidents at the end of each academic year. Board members are professors Mary Christianakis and Donna Maeda (both of CTSJ), appointed by Faculty Council; students Diana Ortiz ’14 and Hailey Jures ’14, appointed by ASOC; and two staff members, Emmons Director Robin Davidson and the Title IX coordinator. The Board has been meeting weekly.
We launched a newly revised Sexual Assault Resources & Support website. We invite your feedback as we continue our work to make it more helpful and user-friendly.
We hired a full-time on-campus advocate to bolster support for sexual-assault survivors. Naddia Palacios (firstname.lastname@example.org) is accessible 24 hours a day to provide crisis support and resource options to students. She reports to Robin Davidson, the director of Emmons Student Wellness Center. Naddia also serves as coordinator of Project SAFE.
We launched a new 24-hour hotline (323-341-4141) available to students this fall. ProtoCall, a highly regarded behavioral intervention organization, runs a hotline tailored to meet the needs of our students, including after-hours access to highly trained clinicians. ProtoCall coordinates closely with Emmons staff, including the survivor advocate, to provide a seamless and immediate on-campus response to sexual assault survivors with high quality and confidential care.
Ruth Jones was named Title IX coordinator. In this role, Ruth is responsible for oversight of the investigation and resolution of all reports involving sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence. She reports directly to the president and is supported by deputy Title IX coordinators. Jorge Gonzalez, vice president of academic affairs, oversaw the search committee which included Associate Dean Irene Girton; Faculty Council President Nalsey Tinberg; professors Donna Maeda (CTSJ) and Salvador Fernandez (Spanish and French Literary Studies); Ella Turenne, assistant dean for community engagement; Roberta Dacus, nurse practitioner at Emmons Student Wellness Center; and James Uhrich, associate vice president of information technology services.
We formed a new Oxy Assault Advocacy & Response Team, consisting of Oxy psychologists, medical staff, and the survivor advocate to ensure that survivors receive a full range of timely and continual support, care and linkage to services including medical, forensic, advocacy and legal support, as well as housing and academic accommodations.
We created an anonymous suggestion box to solicit comments about sexual-assault issues from anyone in the campus community. Comments from the suggestion box go directly to Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez to inform their review. We will continue to use the anonymous suggestion box as a platform for comments and feedback after the work of our consultants is completed.
- Project SAFE doubled in size from two to four program assistants starting this fall. Project SAFE assists in educational program development and implementation, as well as ongoing campus-wide outreach.
- All students, including first-years, transfers, and returning students, are now required to participate in the online training program called "Think About It" as part of Clearance. The goal of the program is to provide a solid foundation for students to create an ethical community of care and to look out for and respect each other. It is designed to deepen conversations about complex issues, and to develop a campus community that respects every individual. On June 27 and July 16 members of the senior staff met for two initial rounds of training by Peace Over Violence (POV), one of the country's oldest organizations committed to the prevention of sexual violence, domestic violence, child abuse and youth violence.
- 2013 Orientation programming around sexual assault included 4.5 hours of mandatory programming, double the previous time allotted, and focused on our sexual misconduct policy and resources, consent, active bystander training, and a discussion about sex. The training culminated with a presentation by Dr. Jackson Katz, a leading national voice on the issue.
On June 27, 2013 and July 16, 2013 members of the senior administrative staff met for two initial rounds of training by Peace Over Violence.
Survivor Advocate Naddia Palacios and other members of the Emmons staff took part in the 2013 National Sexual Assault Conference August 28-30, 2013.
We are exploring the feasibility of pairing a professional external investigator with a trained on-campus representative for future cases to ensure the highest standard of professionalism in this important part of the adjudication process.
The First-Year Residential Education program will incorporate educational opportunities on sexual misconduct into new student programming.
We created a speaker series for the fall semester, scheduled so that all faculty, students and staff will be able to participate in the discussion, reflection and education.
The Sexual Misconduct Advisory Board will be responsible for the evaluation of the interim policies and procedures delivered by Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez, vetting them thoroughly, and making recommendations for any changes it deems necessary for the 2014-15 academic year.
Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez are continuing their review of the past two years of sexual assault cases at Oxy, which they expect will be completed at the end of fall semester.
Statements to the Community
- Message from the President
August 23, 2013
- Message from the President
August 8, 2013
- Message from the President
May 1, 2013
- 24/7 Confidential Hotline:
- Survivor Advocate Naddia Palacios:
- Title IX Coordinator Ruth Jones:
- Campus Safety Emergency Line:
(323) 259-2511 or dial 5 from any campus phone
- Dean of Students Office: (323) 259-2661