I. Call to order
Ruth Jones called to order the meeting of the Campus Committee on Sexual Responsibility & Misconduct (CCSRM) at 11 a.m. on March 19, 2015 in HSC 225.
II. Members Attending
The following persons were present:
Karla Aguilar, Movindri Reddy, Ruth Jones, Olivia Sabins, Thomas Wesley, Richard Mora, Jordan Brown, Scott Bogue.
III. Title IX Office Updates
A. Sexual Assault Climate Survey has closed. We will have the results and analysis of the results prepared in a few weeks. The results will be shared in an Oxy community meeting in the end of April, date and location TBD.
B. Deputy Coordinator Eileen Spain has been working on a special project regarding Interim Measures and Remedies. She is going to present her ideas to CCSRM committee members on Thursday, April 16.
C. Title IX Office is working on draft handouts to provide information to students on various aspects of how the office operates. We will post these documents in the CCSRM shared drive and are interested in getting feedback on the content from the committee members. These include: Title IX Reporting Chart, General Title IX Brochure, Title IX Office Flow of Communication, and Title IX Response Chart.
IV. Discussion Regarding Sanctions
A. Why do we sanction? What do we think the purpose of sanctioning is?
The core principle of Title IX is to ensure educational equity. It was discussed that the purpose of the college disciplinary process is not to punish – that is the objective of the criminal process. Rather, the college disciplinary process has three main objectives: end discrimination, prevent its reoccurrence, and mitigate the impact of discrimination. Holding abusers accountable is one a critical element for achieving those objectives.
B. Educating Students Found Responsible of Title IX Complaints
The committee discussed whether there is a role for educating students found responsible for violating the policy.
Should sanctions include an educational component? Have we lost the capacity in our current framework to educate those who have been found responsible of sexual assault? It can be difficult to educate students when they are no longer a part of the Oxy community because they were expelled. When a student is expelled they are separated from the College in the interest of protecting the Oxy students and other members of the community. Is there a way to provide some education to expelled students? Does Oxy have a responsibility to educate individuals, who will no longer be a part of our community, so that they become less of a risk to society or any other institution they may attend in the future?
The committee also discussed that the preponderance of the evidence standard, more likely than not, is the lowest standard of proof and the complexity of the facts presented in most cases.
C. Range and Types of Sanction Provisions
The main portion of this discussion focused on the question: should we have a range of sanctions for all Title IX offenses? Oxy’s interim policy only includes policy ranges for sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact. The committee would like to consider sanction ranges for other conduct prohibited by the policy.
The committee discussed two types of sanction provisions. In this week’s agenda we included the sanction portion on our policy and the sanction portion of Dartmouth’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. In Dartmouth’s policy, the required sanction is expulsion for certain policy violations use of physical force, threat, or intentional incapacitation or the reporting person engaged in either (A) any form of sexual penetration( anal, oral or vaginal) …and any form of sexual penetration motivated by bias.
Is expulsion the appropriate punishment for all sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact? Survivors may be reluctant to initiate a formal investigation process if they do not want to get the respondent expelled from the College. Also, when a student is expelled, does this solve the problem? Does the student who was separated from the college have an opportunity to be educated on their wrong doings?
In regard to "suspension with conditions to return" – if a student is willing to complete x,y,z to return to the College, how would we screen and what type of risk assessment could we put into place to ensure they met the educational objectives?
D. Issue of Notations on Transcript
An issue that comes up when students are separated from the college is transcript notations: should their transcript include that they were expelled for a conduct matter? The current policy includes the following provision:
"Generally suspension, expulsion, and withdrawal pending disciplinary action are permanently noted on a student’s transcript. 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."
This then will potentially limit them from being accepted to other institutions. There is state legislation in the works to have mandatory notations added to transcripts of those who are expelled due to being responsible of sexual assault. This can also create an inherent class issue: if students can pay for college without financial aid, the new school may have no idea of their previous academic history. Yet, if the student does need to apply for financial aid, they would need to disclose this information.
E. Next Steps
We will continue our discussion of sanctions including restorative justice and its potential role within the Title IX process. We will also discuss sanction ranges for conduct other than sexual assault: stalking, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, etc.