Dear Oxy Community,
Occidental College has revised its Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy in response to the U.S. Department of Education regulations issued in May that mandate how colleges and universities must investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct cases under Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities. As a result, like all educational institutions that receive federal funding, Oxy was required to amend its policies related to sexual misconduct to be in line with these federal directives by August 14.
Most importantly, under the revised policy, conduct of a sexual nature that previously constituted a violation of College policy will continue to constitute a violation of College policy. However, such conduct will now be adjudicated under two different processes: a Title IX Sexual Harassment process, which addresses conduct falling under federal Title IX regulations, including on campus conduct or conduct that occurs within the College’s programs or activities (both on and off campus); and a Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct process, which addresses conduct falling outside the jurisdiction/scope of federal Title IX regulations, such as conduct that occurs off campus (but does not occur within the College’s programs or activities) or outside of the United States. For more information, please see the Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy FAQs.
New features of the Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy include:
- Live cross examination (conducted by parties’ advisors) for cases going through the Title IX Sexual Harassment process and written cross examination for cases going through the Sexual Misconduct process.
- Parties who do not wish to participate in the formal disciplinary process may choose to participate in the College’s expanded adaptable resolution process.
Many features of the College’s previous policy are the same, including:
- The definition of affirmative consent remains unchanged.
- The policy continues to apply to off-campus sexual misconduct between members of the Oxy community.
- The preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) standard continues to apply.
- Individuals may still obtain supportive measures (such as No Contact Letters, academic support, or housing changes) with or without participating in an investigation.
- All non-confidential employees are still Responsible Employees and must share any reports of sexual harassment or misconduct with the Title IX Office.
- Oxy's policy still applies to everyone: students, faculty, staff, administrators and campus visitors.
The College’s goal is to meet its responsibilities in a manner that ensures compliance with federal law while best fulfilling our commitments to community safety, well-being, and equity. New members of the College Committee on Sexual Responsibility and Misconduct (CCSRM) will be appointed by President Elam at the start of the academic year. CCSRM will be charged with reviewing practices, procedures, and programming relevant to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and Title IX issues. This will include reviewing and adapting the Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy throughout the fall and spring semesters, as we learn from experience and receive feedback from the community. Although the policy was revised over the summer in order to meet the implementation deadline, CCSRM is being constituted this fall to provide the campus the greatest opportunity to be engaged with thoughtfully reviewing and finalizing a policy that meets both federal regulations and the needs and values of our community. I invite you to review the revised policy and to provide comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our goal is to have a permanent policy in place sometime in the spring semester.
As a reminder, the Title IX Office is available remotely to anyone wishing to report an incident of sexual misconduct or seeking information about options and resources. Any person with questions or concerns can contact me directly by email (email@example.com) or telephone (323-259-1338), or file a report online. The College also continues to offer confidential resources to serve and support our community. Survivor Advocate Marianne Frapwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides free confidential counseling and advocacy to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence; the Oxy 24/7 Helpline (323-341-4141) provides 24/7 confidential phone counseling and referral services to all members of the community; and Emmons Wellness Center currently provides confidential telecounseling to all students in California and can assist out-of-state students in finding a local provider. The Sexual Respect and Title IX website features a complete list of available resources and additional information.
As always, Occidental College remains committed to our fundamental goal of eliminating sexual misconduct in the Oxy community, providing support to survivors, and ensuring a fair process for all parties.
Alexandra Fulcher | Title IX Coordinator