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 April 2, 2015 in HSC 225.
II. Members Attending
The following persons were present:
Karla Aguilar, Ruth Jones, Scott Bogue, Richard Mora, Brian Erickson, Jordan Brown, Movindri Reddy, Sara Semal, Thomas Wesley
III. Review Meeting Minutes from last week’s meeting
IV. Discussion regarding Title IX Policy/Procedure Provisions
A draft of the investigative model procedures was reviewed by the committee. The following is an overview of the main edits as well as points that were brought up throughout the committee’s discussion:
A. The "Initial Assessment" analysis is now more straightforward and clearer.
B. Provisions were made to the explanation of the process and rights of the complainant and respondent in order to re-think the process for handling cross-complaints. One main change is that in lieu of a having a Hearing Coordinator position, there would be a Title IX Officer that would provide procedural assistance during the review panels consideration of each case – either the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy Coordinator.
C. A new provision includes clearly stating in the policy that depending on where the investigation process is, the College will likely still move forward with the Title IX complaint resolution process, even if the complainant is uninterested in participating. The purpose of this would be to protect the rest of the community. Provision needs to be clear that this is after formal process is initiated.
D. In the updated policy there will be much more clarity in regard to advisors and their role and responsibilities. For example, federal law requires that schools permit students to select advisors of choice, including family members, attorneys and other outside of the college community. While we of course want the advisor to best serve the student they are advising, we will not unreasonably accommodate the advisor’s schedule. We cannot delay the complaint resolution process due to the advisors other scheduled activities. In addition, the updated policy will include a provision that advisors will be removed if they do not follow the policies and procedures set forth by the Title IX Office. An example of this would be breaching confidentiality. Further discussion will ensue about whether advisors who were removed from a case would be allowed to serve as an advisor in a later case. Advisors will sign a statement of understanding with verbiage such as, "Advisors are responsible for reviewing all policies to which we will hold their behavior to, and the Title IX Office will offer training to all advisors to help clarify the expectations and limits of their role." While we cannot require training for advisors, we can strongly recommend it for all new and returning advisors.
As we continue to transition into the provisions in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Title IX Coordinator and committee members who are faculty will have a more in-depth discussion regarding the necessary support that will be offered to all internal advisors at Occidental. Serving as an advisor can be an overwhelming and stressful process, and we want to ensure they have access to resources and support as necessary throughout the complaint resolution process.
E. Investigation piece: Instead of a hearing model, we have proposed to use an investigative model in all Title IX cases. We will change the timeline from 20 business days to 30 calendar days to reflect the language the Office of Civil Rights uses. There are instances where this time period may be extended due to if there is a police investigation pending at the same time and the LAPD asks us to put a hold on our processes, during holidays and finals week, etc.
F. While this is a very brief and general overview of the suggested provisions, the entire provision proposal will be made available to the community for review.
V. Other considerations to be reviewed and further discussed
A. How will the hearing panel be selected? The committee members discussed that this needs to be further investigated. The hearing panel will be a mixture of staff members and faculty members but we are unsure of who exactly would appoint these individuals (potentially the Faculty Council and Staff Council). It was also brought up that there could be criticism if certain staff/faculty members are selected that have not had experience dealing with sexual discrimination cases, yet the committee agreed that this is the purpose of training and that all hearing panelists will be extensively trained in their roles. Our goal is to create an effective training model to ensure that all on the hearing panel are adequately prepared to serve in their role to the best of their ability.
B. Should we record hearing panel deliberation? We currently record Title IX hearings that take place on campus because of the testimony that is provided during the hearings. It was discussed that as we move from the hearing model to the investigation model, that the only portion that would be recorded is the interview between the investigator and the hearing panel (or any time new information is provided to the hearing panel). Deliberations of the hearing panel would not be recorded.
C. How will hearing panelists be selected? The panelist pool will be comprised of both faculty and staff members at Oxy. Our objective is to have a representative from both the staff side and faculty side on each panel, but if there are not adequate numbers of panelists available (such as during the summer), we will utilize individuals from the pool who are. We will consult with the Faculty Counsel and Staff & Administrator Counsel on how these individuals will be appointed, as well as discuss how these employees will be compensated (e.g. faculty committee appointments for, recognizing increased workload for salaried staff members, etc.). It was also suggested that there be a provision in the policy for replacements on the hearing panel (if an employee leaves Oxy, etc.).
D. How many people should the hearing panel pool be comprised of? It was discussed that there should be a small enough group so that the panelists can get adequate experience in their role but big enough so that there is some flexibility with scheduling. It would be ideal if there was always an experienced panelist in the pool to help guide newer panelists. There will also be a Title IX official (either Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Deputy Cooridnator) who will serve on the panel to help with a greater understanding of the Title IX office policies and procedures.
E. Who will be in charge of the appeals? Ideally, the committee would like all hearing panelists to be trained to handle appeals. This will create a pool of appeals officers (which will help with scheduling purposes), where everyone is adequately and thoroughly trained.
F. Who will be trained to be investigators for Title IX cases? Discrimination investigators (from the Oxy community) will continue to be trained this semester by Ruth and outside community group Peace Over Violence. Discrimination Investigators will likely handle cases of stalking, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment domestic violence, etc., while external investigators will handle cases of sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact, as they have undergone specialized training in investigating these types of cases.
G. Additional recommendation of committee member would be have "complainant" replace "his/her" language in the policy to be more inclusive. More recommendations and suggested edits to come by committee members.
VI. Discussion of Additional Meeting Times
Few other meeting times:
VII. Community Feedback Process
Submit Draft to the Community by Email and post on Committee Webpage by April 25, 2015