Minutes of the 3/25/16 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 March 25, 2016 in HSC #225.

II.      Members Attending

The following persons were present:

Karla Aguilar, Marianne Frapwell, Brian Erickson, Heather Lukes, Anne Schell, Katelyn Fink, Ruth Jones, Jordan Brown, Richard Mora

III.      Administrative Matters

1. Review of Minutes from 3.18.16

IV.      Discussion of Sanctioning Guidelines

The Sanctioning Guidelines will be employed by the Review Panel to impose sanctions when a student is found responsible for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The sanctioning provision of the Sexual Misconduct Policy is included below.

Occidental College Sexual Misconduct Sanction/Review Panel Provision

A. Sanctions

If the report proceeds through Formal Resolution and the Respondent is found responsible for one or more violations of the College’s antidiscrimination policies, the College will issue sanctions commensurate with the violation(s).  The CRC will designate three trained individuals to serve on a three-person panel ("Review Panel") to determine sanctions.  The CRC will notify the Parties, in writing, of the name of the designated Review Panelists within three (3) calendar days upon receipt of the final report.  Both Parties will have three (3) calendar days to object to each Review Panelist on the basis of bias or conflict of interest.  If either of the Parties objects, the CRC will evaluate whether the objection is substantiated.  The CRC will remove and replace any Review Panelist the CRC finds to have a bias or conflict of interest against either Party.

The CRC will notify the Parties that they have the opportunity to submit statements to the Review Panel within five (5) calendar days of the receipt of the final report.  The Review Panel will review the Parties’ Impact Statements, and all other materials in the case, including the Final Report and attached exhibits, in assessing the appropriate sanction.  The Review Panel does not have the power or ability to alter the findings (factual or ultimate) by the Investigator. 

The Review Panel has the discretion to recommend a variety of sanctions consistent with the Sanctioning Guidelines. If the Review Panel deviates from the Sanctioning Guidelines, the Review Panel must provide an explanation to the CRC, in writing, of the exceptional circumstances of the case that merit deviation.  In all instances, the CRC has the discretion to reject the Review Panel’s deviation and implement sanctions consistent with the Sanctioning Guidelines.

The Review Panel will issue a recommendation to the CRC regarding sanctions within five (5) calendar days of receiving all materials in the case, including any Impact Statements submitted by the Parties.  The CRC will issue final sanctions within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the Review Panel Recommendation.  The CRC will issue the sanctions recommended by the Review Panel unless (1) the Review Panel recommends sanctions that deviate from established Sanctioning Guidelines (without demonstrable justification); or (2) the Review Panel recommends sanctions that the CRC believes will not effectively stop the alleged harassment, prevent its recurrence, or remedy its effects.  The CRC will notify the Parties of the sanctions simultaneously in writing.

Any one or more of the sanctions listed here may be imposed on a Respondent who is found responsible for a violation of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.  Sanctions not listed here may be imposed in consultation with and approval by the CRC.  Sanctions are assessed in response to the specific violation(s) and any prior discipline history of the Respondent.  Sanctions are effective immediately.  If the Respondent appeals the findings contained in the Final Report, the sanctions will continue in effect during the appeal.   The sanctions may be lifted only if, as a result of the final outcome of the appeal, the Respondent is found not responsible for one or more of the original policy violations submitted to the Review Panel.

Committee Discussion

After reviewing the role of the Review Panel, the committee discussed the Sanctioning Guidelines Draft.

Topics that arose during this discussion included:

A. Impact Statements

i. Currently both complainants and respondents are permitted to submit an impact statement for the Review Panel to consider prior to determining sanctions. The committee discussed the purpose of impact statements. There was consensus that such statements are a way of processing for both Complainants and Respondents, for both parties to share the impact the events have had on them, and for the Complainant and Respondent to identify any extenuating circumstances that should be considered in deviating from sanctioning guidelines.

ii. It was agreed upon that we should be more intentional in the way we word the purpose of the impact statement for both the Complainant and Respondent, so that Complainants are not pressured to request reduced sanctions and that both parties and the Review Panel understand that the Impact Statements are most relevant when they include information on extraordinary factors that would cause the panel to deviate from the sanctions.

iii. It was discussed that Advisors could be more involved in this process and be better trained on how to help Complainants and Respondents craft Impact Statements.

iv. The currently Sanctioning Guidelines include the language "The Review Panel must consider the impact statements very carefully." It was suggested that this could make the role of the Review Panel in reviewing this statement somewhat confusing. The Review Panel is to review the Impact Statement, but base the sanction decision primarily upon the evidence as presented in the Investigation Report and only extraordinary circumstances should cause deviation from the guidelines. Thus, this statement should be revised to provide more clarity. An idea provided by a committee member was, "The review plan must use their best judgment when considering the impact statement." The Review Panel will be adequately trained on how to review and evaluate the Impact Statement in accompaniment to the Investigation documents.

v. Suggestions from committee to the Title IX Coordinator:

· More clearly state that the Review Panel should focus on the evidence of the nature and severity of the conduct when determining sanctions.

· Provide more clarity on the use of the impact statement for the Review Panel and to emphasize that the Review Panel’s primary responsibility is to meet the objectives of the sanctions. Sanctioning objectives include stopping the discrimination, preventing the reoccurrence, and remedying the effects of the discrimination. There should also be consistency in sanctions.

B. Deviations from the Sanctioning Guidelines and Exceptional Circumstances

This section was included in the Sanction provision of the Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy. The committee discussed if these items were still relevant under the revised policy:

"The hearing panel may deviate from the range of recommended sanctions, based upon a full consideration of the following factors: (1) the Respondent’s prior discipline history; (2) how the College has sanctioned similar incidents in the past; (3) the nature and violence of the conduct at issue; (4) the impact of the conduct on the Complainant; (5) the impact of the conduct on the community, its members, or its property; (6) whether the Respondent has accepted responsibility for his actions; (7) whether the Respondent is reasonably likely to engage in the conduct in the future; (8) the need to deter similar conduct by others; and (9) any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances, including the College’s values."

It was suggested that the following were no longer relevant:

·  (6) whether the Respondent has accepted responsibility for his actions;

·  (7) whether the Respondent is reasonably likely to engage in the conduct in the future;

·  (8) the need to deter similar conduct by others; and

·  (9) any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances, including the College’s values."

And to include:

·  A statement that the use of alcohol or other substances is not appropriate means to deviate from the sanctioning guidelines.

·  Add "among others" or similar language to the end of potential deviation factors.