Minutes of the 11/23/15 Meeting

I.      Call to order

Ruth Jones called to order the meeting of the Campus Committee on Sexual Responsibility & Misconduct (CCSRM) at 3:00PM on November 23, 2015 in Hameetman Science Room #225.

II.      Members Attending

The following persons were present:

Brian Erickson, Katelyn Fink, Jordan Brown, Ruth Jones, Richard Mora, Karla Aguilar, Marianne Frapwell, Dana Michels, Victor Clay, Anne Schell, Heather Lukes, Richard Mora, Olivia Sabbins, Sara Semal

III.      Administrative Matters

A. Review minutes from 11/16/15 meeting

IV.      Discussion of community feedback from online feedback

A. The Committee would like to create an FAQ document when the new policy is implemented. Proposed separate FAQ’s for complainants, respondents, advisors, etc.  The FAQs could address some of the issues raised in the anonymous online community feedback survey.

B. Discussion of specific revisions are as follows:

  • Crime Log reporting includes statement about the crime log. (pg. 21 in DRAFT_Sexual Misconduct Policy)

All higher education institutions that have campus police forces or security departments must maintain a daily crime log that includes entries for all crimes that occur within both the Clery geography and the campus police force’s regular patrol route.  The crime log does not include identifying information about the Complainant or Respondent.

                        No comments.

  • Inclusion of standard for reviewing interim suspension. (pg. 30 in DRAFT_Sexual Misconduct Policy)

Where the reported conduct poses a substantial and immediate threat of harm to the safety or well-being of an individual, members of the campus community, or the performance of normal College functions, the College may place a student or student organization on interim suspension or impose leave for an employee.  Pending resolution of the report, the individual or organization may be denied access to campus, campus facilities, and/or all other College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the College determines appropriate.  When interim suspension or leave is imposed, the College will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and resolution within an expedited time frame.

A student Respondent who has been put on interim suspension has the right to a meeting with the Dean of Students or designee to appeal the interim suspension.  The Dean of Students (or designee) reviews the appeal to determine whether the decision to put a student on interim suspension was arbitrary or capricious.

Provisions for suspension of faculty members are contained in the Faculty Handbook.  Staff may be placed on leave at the discretion of the College.

Committee comments: Potentially define "arbitrary or capricious" to make the legal standard more understandable to the entire community.

  • Is a registered minister a confidential agent?

Committee comments: No. Campus confidential resources are those that serve that role for the College.  An ordained minister would not be a campus confidential resource unless they serve in that role at the College.  An ordained minister who is not who is not serving in that role for the College, would be a responsible employee. This is one an issue that should be addressed in an accompanying FAQ. 

  • Retaliation

Retaliation includes any adverse action taken against a person for making a good faith report of Prohibited Conduct or participating in any proceeding under this Policy.  Adverse action includes conduct that threatens, intimidates, harasses, coerces or in any other way seeks to discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this Policy.  Retaliation can be committed by or against any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant.  Retaliation does not include good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of Prohibited Conduct.  Retaliation may be present even where there is a finding of "no responsibility" on the allegations of Prohibited Conduct. 

The College will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and will pursue disciplinary action as appropriate.  An individual reporting Prohibited Conduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not proven.

As explained in Section __ below, any employee may pursue any charge of discrimination or harassment with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH") or the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission ("EEOC").  It is unlawful to retaliate against any employee for opposing the practices prohibited by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or comparable federal law or for filing a complaint with, or for otherwise participating in, an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted by the DFEH or EEOC.

Committee comments: The committee discussed the issue of what is retaliation.  The focus of the discussion was on when public comments might become retaliation.  The discussion focused on the distinction between retaliation and a law suit for slander.  An action for slander would be independent of the college process.  Also discussed was the "Free Speech" rights of students and their ability to tell their stories. 

The committee agreed that is important that we do not punish students/survivors for telling their stories about sexual assault and that it is also important to make sure that the campus is safe for all students.  We also discussed that individual’s safety is extremely important and that it is imperative that students at Oxy know about their resources on campus to help them in difficult situations.

Anonymous Feedback on Student Grievance Process

  • Description of initial meeting with Respondent
    • The notice of the complaint shall be accompanied with a request for a meeting with the CRC within three (3) days. If the respondent does not respond to the meeting request or is unable to meet within three (3) days, the CRC shall provide information about:
    • On and off campus resources, including counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance (including visa and immigration assistance), student financial aid, and other available services
    • The range of interim accommodations and remedies, including changes to academic, living, transportation, and/or working situations, or other protective measures.
    • Provide an overview of the procedural options and process, including Informal Resolution and Formal Resolution
    • Make a list of advisors or support persons available
    • Explain the College’s alcohol and drug amnesty policy
    • Explain the College’s policy prohibiting retaliation

Committee comments: This list describes what happens in the meeting. To clarify the language, it was suggested to use "Provide information on" instead of "explain."

  • An investigative process rather than a hearing process

Committee comments: It was suggested that we clarify that the Review Panel is not made up solely of faculty, but rather a combination of faculty, staff, and administrators.

It was also recommended that a flow chart be created that clearly explains the informal and formal resolution procedures for students, to help them clearly understand the process and their options.

  • Failure to Comply with Investigation and Disciplinary Process

If a party or other participant in the process (e.g., a Advisor) fails to comply with the procedures set forth herein, including through a material breach of confidentiality, the College reserves the right to terminate the Grievance Process and/or to exclude a participant from further participation in the process.

The CRC is responsible for interpreting and applying this provision, and will not terminate a process or exclude a participant from further participation without providing advance written notice and an opportunity for the affected party to respond in writing.  In such circumstances, the CRC will implement alternative resolution options as may be appropriate under the circumstances to insure that, notwithstanding any misconduct during the Grievance Process, which the College has taken reasonable steps to determine whether a violation of any antidiscrimination policy has occurred and, if so, to take prompt and appropriate remedial actions in response to such conduct.

Committee comments: Does this include witnesses? No. We do not currently require witnesses to participate in the investigation if they are unwilling to do so. It is up to witnesses as to whether or not they will participate in the fact-finding process, but it is their right to decline. The committee agreed that this practice should remain, and that witnesses should not be required to participate in the formal grievance process.

  • Records

The CRC will retain records of all reports and complaints, regardless of whether the matter is resolved by means of Initial Assessment, Informal Resolution or Formal Resolution.  Complaints resolved by means of an Initial Assessment or Informal Resolution are not part of a student’s conduct file or academic record.

Affirmative findings of responsibility in matters resolved through Formal Resolution are part of a student’s conduct record.  Such records shall be used in reviewing any further conduct, or developing sanctions, and shall remain a part of a student’s conduct record.

Generally suspension, expulsion, and withdrawal pending disciplinary action are permanently noted on a student’s transcript.  In addition to records kept by the CRC, the conduct files of students who have been suspended or expelled from the College are maintained in the Dean of Students Office indefinitely.  Conduct files of students who have not been suspended or expelled are maintained in the Dean of Students Office for no fewer than seven years from the date of the incident.  Further questions about record retention should be directed to the Dean of Students Office.

Committee comments: What happens if the respondent withdraws from the College before an investigation concludes? The College would indicate "Withdrawal Pending Disciplinary Outcome" on the student’s transcript. It was discussed that we need to consider placing this information on elsewhere in the policy so that it is clear that withdrawal pending disciplinary action will be noted on the transcript.