Minutes of 2/26/15 Meeting


I. Call to order

Ruth Jones called to order the meeting of the Campus Committee on Sexual Responsibility & Misconduct (CCSRM) at 11:03 a.m. on February 26, 2015 in HSC 225.

II. Members Attending

The following persons were present:
Karla Aguilar; Sara Semal; Scott Bogue; Movindri Reddy; Amy Fluett; Ruth Jones; Richard Mora; Brian Erickson; Maureen McRae Goldberg; Jordan Brown

III. Title IX Office Updates

A. Update on web page revision
    a. CCSRM webpage completed. Link: http://www.oxy.edu/office-title-ix/campus-committee-sexual-responsibilit...
    b. "How to Report" page has been revised

B. Training Update
    a. Peace Over Violence training for deputy coordinators and discrimination investigators is in process
    b. Last week CCSRM members Jones, Aguilar and Semal attended a 3-day Department of Justice training workshop in Virginia. Updates on the new information               they inquired are to come.

IV. Discussion Regarding the Investigative Model

Title IX Coordinator Jones suggested a new model for Title IX complaint resolution procedures. Instead of hearings, the "Investigative Model" is a different approach to handling Title IX investigations.

A. The Process
Currently, investigators gather evidence but do not make any findings. An external or internal (depending on complexity of the case) investigator gathers information and evidence relating to the case. Under the proposed new process, the investigators will make a recommendation on whether there has been a policy violation. After gathering evidence but prior to recommended finding, an Investigation Report will be drafted and made available to complainant and respondent via One Hub, a secure online file-sharing site, for review. After reviewing the draft report, complainant and respondent will both have the opportunity to share additional information or evidence regarding the case. After following up with the additional evidence, the investigator will then create a Final Investigative Report. A hearing board of three (comprised of a pool of nine, including faculty and staff members who have committed to serving in this capacity for a to-be-determined number of years) will then review the recommended findings. The board can adopt the recommended findings or send back the report for additional information after which the report would be sent back to the Board. If the respondent is found responsible, the Board would impose sanctions. One person from the board, who did not serve on the three-member board reviewing the report, would handle the appeals process.

B. Discussion

  • If only one person reads the appeal, isn’t there a chance this person may be biased? It was discussed that both the complainant and respondent will have a chance to request a different appeals officer for cause or specific reason. The appeals person will be a member of the board who was not assigned to resolve the complaint.
  • How can we make this process as transparent as possible? Board members would be announced to the community and included on relevant information websites and materials. Both the complainant and respondent will have a chance to request someone else for the Hearing Panel for cause.
  • Can we shorten the Investigation Reports? Unfortunately, no. Some cases are very complex, especially cases with a large number of witnesses. The exhibits (relevant pictures, text, emails, etc.) can vary in length as well. The objective is to provide all available information necessary to resolve the complaint.
  • What will the timeline look like when utilizing this model? It is anticipated that the timeline would be reduced significantly from the initial assessment to the findings/imposing of any potential sanctions. Hearings can take quite a bit of time to coordinate due to the schedules of the complainant, respondent, advisors, hearing coordinator, adjudicator, etc., and without a hearing occurring, we anticipate the timeline will be reduced.
  • Where do attorneys fit into this process? Attorneys, by law, will still be allowed to serve as advisors in the complaint resolution process. They will be able to be present in all meetings and will have access to the Investigation Report.
  • How else will students be supported throughout the complaint resolution process? The Title IX Office will still offer a variety of interim measures to help support students throughout the investigation process. Interim measures are available on a case-by-case basis starting at the Initial Assessment interview and will continue throughout the investigation process and with the appropriate remedies after the case has been closed.
  • If a complainant decides to pursue criminal charges, how does this impact the Investigative Model? Oxy will still pursue their Title IX investigation process as we have distinct responsibilities to protect our students and the Oxy campus. Law enforcement may ask the Title IX Office to delay the case, subpoena documents from the Title IX Office, and/or attorneys may advise respondents not to participate in Oxy’s investigation process, though, which could be problematic.

C. Key benefits of this new model

  • The investigative model seems overall much more transparent and less burdensome on students, as hearings can be extremely traumatizing for the participating parties.
  • This process may shorten the length of Title IX complaint resolution.
  • Both complainant and respondent will be more aware of where they are at any point in the complaint resolution process. A chart can be created which explains the timeline and exact steps in the process.
  • This structure reduces the structural impact of one side (complainant or respondent) having an attorney, while the other one does not.

D. Committee suggestions

  • Create deadlines for the entire Title IX Complaint resolution process so students have an idea of how long it will take to resolve their complaint. Stating "60 days" for the entire process is insufficient. Instead, break it down into smaller steps and say for example, "30 days for investigation, 15 days for…etc."
  • We need sufficient opportunities for individuals to challenge the Investigator’s findings and evidence throughout the complaint resolution process.
  • Consider not providing the Board with the key to initials used in the Investigation Report. Instead use Respondent, Complainant, Witness A, Witness B, Witness C, etc. This helps secure confidentiality and could avoid the hearing panel having bias toward student names that they recognize.
  • The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator should also sit on the Board in each case, to help facilitate the process and ensure appropriate application of the Occidental Sexual Misconduct Policy.

E. Next Steps

Title IX Coordinator Ruth Jones will work on drafting language and a diagram for this model.