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 26, 2015 in HSC 225.
II. Members Attending
The following persons were present:
Karla Aguilar, Ruth Jones, Olivia Sabins, Richard Mora, Brian Erickson, Amy Fluett, Jordan Brown, Maureen McRae Goldberg, Sara Semal
III. Title IX Office Updates
A. Drafted flow charts from the last meeting are in the process of being created. Drafts will be submitted to Oxy’s graphic designer.
B. Mark your calendars: we will be holding the Campus Climate Sexual Assault Survey results meeting with the Oxy community on Tuesday, April 28 from 12 noon-1 p.m. in Choi Auditorium.
C. A hot topic in the media right now is the status of treatment records and confidentiality issues, as in the current University of Oregon case. We will be sending out an email to the community next week regarding privacy of treatment records and how we avoid unintentional FERPA issues.
D. Look for these items in your email next week: draft procedures for the investigative model and information regarding consent updates in our Sexual Misconduct policy.
IV. Continued Discussion Regarding Sanctions
A. Restorative Justice
The questions arose: Is there ever a place for restorative justice in sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact cases? Is that a "single response" or at most, might it be coupled with disciplinary sanctions?
Committee members agreed that it can be difficult to change behaviors. Sometimes it can take months or even years for positive behavior changes to occur. Members are most concerned with the safety of those on campus and preventing the reoccurrence of sexual assault/sexual misconduct cases on campus. There is little evidence that suggests restorative justice is the most effective type of sanction.
It was also discussed, though, that conflict resolution could potentially be beneficial in sexual exploitation and sexual harassment cases.
The question arose: What does restorative justice actually look like in the Title IX complaint resolution process? It was decided that at this time, the committee does not have sufficient facts on how restorative justice works. More research to take place and information to come on restorative justice and how this applies to the range of sanctions in our Sexual Misconduct policy.
B. Sanctioning Ranges
The committee discussed some of the objectives of sanctions. In addition to accountability for those found responsible, other considerations are: transparency/community expectations and community understanding of what sanctions are actually imposed. The community should know what sanctions are imposed. The policy and transparency should create expectations for the consequences of prohibited behavior. One challenge of the per se rather than sanctioning ranges is the facts of a case when per se sanction is inappropriate.
1) Could perhaps have a limited sentencing range with required reasons for deviation. This could include language that for certain offenses, X,Y,Z is the starting point for sanctions and in order to deviate, the panel must identify why they deviated, why it is right in this situation to deviate, and how deviating will better protect the Occidental community.
This puts more of a responsibility on the hearing board and also holds them more accountable. If they continuously deviate from "the norm," this could be a red flag that we need to further review our policy and procedures.
2) Create an aggregate reporting system for the outcome of all Title IX cases. This could be our way of saying "this is what actually happens" in regard to Title IX cases.
The main concern with this recommendation is about breaching confidentiality by advertising the results of Title IX cases. Therefore, the reporting should be done in aggregate numbers, stripping away identifying information, to help ensure privacy.
C. Add Secondary Consequence language in policy
There are secondary consequences for those found responsible of violations in the Sexual Misconduct policy. For example, students who have been involved in Title IX conduct issues may be unable to participate in certain co-curricular activities, such as studying abroad. When students apply for international programs, they are currently reminded that certain conduct issues could make them ineligible for such programs. Policy should include general statement that there are secondary consequences for violations.
D. Transcript Notations
The committee discussed the topic of adding a notation to the transcripts of those who have been expelled for sexual assault/sexual misconduct. Some questions that arose were: Should their conduct issue that occurred when they were a young adult impact them for the rest of their lives? Will this impact their ability to pursue higher education or be considered for certain jobs?
Clearly, the transcript notation will signal to other institutions or federal employers that the student was expelled. It seemed to be agreed upon in the committee that this part of our policy should remain in place. If Oxy did not put the transcript notation on stating that the student was expelled, it would appear that the student may have left the Oxy community in "good standing" and on their own accord. Students will then have an opportunity to explain themselves to future institutions/employers, and this puts the responsibility on their future institution/employer to do their due diligence, do the necessary background research, and make their own decisions.
V. Other materials to be drafted
A. Policy provision for respondents who take responsibility for their charges
Currently, we have no provision in our policy on how to proceed when a respondent says to the Title IX Office, "Yes, I violated the policy" and we agreed that it needs to be stated explicitly in the policy, in the case that this occurs. This may be more likely to occur in less serious offenses, such as sexual harassment and sexual exploitation where they won’t be facing serious consequences (suspension/expulsion). The provision should state that if a respondent admits the charge, the process would move straight to sanctioning.