Title IX Office Annual Report for the 2015-16 Academic Year


The Title IX Office Annual Report

The Title IX Office issues an annual report about Title IX office programs and activities to inform the community about the steps taken to address and prevent sexual assault and other forms of sex discrimination.  Providing such information is vital to our on-going commitment to transparency, educating the Oxy community about its rights and responsibilities, and helping to foster a culture of respect on campus. 

Complaints/Reports to the Title IX Office

The Title IX office is responsible for responding to complaints of sex and gender discrimination. These include allegations of discrimination in programs and activities, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  Although complaints of sex discrimination are made primarily by students about other students, Title IX and the Occidental Sexual Misconduct Policy are also applicable to faculty, staff, administrators and other members of the community. 

Community members report to the Title IX office for a variety of reasons.  Some report as the first step in initiating the formal process.  The formal complaint resolution process must be employed to impose discipline on a student or employee.

Title IX Formal Complaints Fall 2015 and 2014-2015

The following are the aggregate number of cases resolved using the formal complaint process during fall 2015.  Numbers for spring 2016 will be provided during fall 2016. We provide these aggregate figures to balance our responsibility to inform the Occidental community about the number, nature and outcome of all complaints filed with preserving the privacy of the individuals involved in the process.

Note that these figures differ from those provided in the Annual Clery Report (known formally as the Annual Fire Safety and Security Report).  The federal Clery Act requires colleges and universities to issue an annual report each Oct. 1 that covers the previous calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31) listing reports of seven major crimes: criminal homicide; sex offenses; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; arson; and motor vehicle theft.  The Clery report requires colleges to employ criminal law definitions of crimes rather than definitions in the Occidental College Sexual Misconduct Policy; covers only incidents that occur on campus; on streets and sidewalks immediately adjacent to campus; on property owned or controlled by the College; or property owned or controlled by institutionally recognized student organizations.  The Clery Act requires reports to be included in the year in which they were reported, not the year in which the incident actually occurred. (It’s not uncommon for reports of sexual misconduct to be delayed.)

The Title IX Office Annual Report includes all formal complaints and informal resolutions handled by the office, including cases that fall outside of the Clery Act’s criminal categories and/or geographically based reporting requirements.

The 2015 Clery report is here:

http://www.oxy.edu/campus-safety/2015-afssr

 

Fall Semester (August-December) 2015 Title IX Formal Complaints

Formal complaints filed: 1 (Dating Violence)

Complaints investigated: 1

Complaints adjudicated: 0 (Upon request of the Complainant, dating violence case resolved without a hearing)

Found responsible: 0 

Found not responsible: 1

Sanctions applied: N/A

Appeals:  N/A

 

Spring Semester 2016 Formal Complaints to be Provided Fall 2016. 

For the purpose of comparison, below are the numbers for the 2014-15 academic year:

 

Fall Semester (August-December) 2014 Title IX Formal Complaints

Formal complaints filed: 4

(In two cases the charges were sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact, in one case the charge was non-consensual sexual contact, and one case the charge was sexual exploitation.)

Complaints investigated: 4

Complaints adjudicated: 4

Found responsible: 3

(The respondents were found responsible in the two sexual assault cases and the one sexual exploitation case.)

Found not responsible: 1

(The respondent was found not responsible in the non-consensual sexual contact case.)

Sanctions applied: Both respondents found responsible of sexual assault were expelled. The sanction for the respondent who was found responsible for sexual exploitation was censure.

Appeals:  The results in the three cases of sexual assault were appealed. The appeals were denied.

 

Spring Semester (January-May) 2015 Title IX Sexual Assault Complaints

Formal complaints filed: 4 (One case was a cross-complaint) 

(In three cases, including the cross-complaint, the charges were sexual assault and non-consensual contact; in the fourth case, the charges were sexual assault, non- consensual contact, and sexual exploitation)

Complaints investigated: 4

Complaints adjudicated: 3 (At complainant’s request, the fourth case was resolved without a hearing.) 

Found responsible: 1 (Responsible for non-consensual contact only)

Found not responsible: 2 (Sexual assault and non-consensual contact cases, including cross complaint) 

Sanctions applied:  Respondent found responsible for non-consensual sexual contact was suspended for 1 year 

Appeals: The results in all cases adjudicated were appealed.  The appeals were denied.

Next Steps:

Report Spring 2016 Formal Complaint Resolutions - Fall 2016

Identify reporting trends and share with the community - Fall 2016

Title IX Informal Resolutions and other Cases

The majority of individuals who seek support do not use the formal complaint process. In some cases the formal process is not applicable, as the assailant is not a member of the Oxy community and is not subject to College discipline.  In other cases not involving sexual violence, the complainant requests an informal resolution of the complaint.  Informal resolution does not result in discipline but may be resolved by the issuance of no contact letters, education or other steps to resolve the situation.  In other cases the complainant requests confidentiality as well as resources and various kinds of support.  Over the past academic year, the types of support the Title IX Office has provided includes: assistance with changes in on-and off-campus housing for both complainants and respondents, and academic support, including note taking, extensions on exams and papers, incompletes, withdrawals, and providing campus escorts, etc. 

In each case, the Title IX Office analyzes what is necessary to provide those requesting support with resources to ensure that they have access to educational opportunities, stay in the classroom and pursue their Oxy experience.  Most requests require coordination between departments such as Student Affairs, Residential Education, Facilities Management, and Campus Safety.

The following are preliminary figures on the total number and types of cases and informal resolutions handled by the Title IX Office during 2015-2016. During the summer, we will audit our reports and provide the final numbers during fall 2016. 

ALLEGED INCIDENTS AS DEFINED IN OUR POLICY​

Sex or Gender Based-Discrimination (new policy charge as of Feb. 2016) - ​1

Discrimination in programs and/or activities (under old policy prior to Feb. 2016) -​ 2

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact - 2

Intimate Partner Violence - 2​

Sexual Exploitation - 4​

No Title IX Charge - 5​

Stalking - 6​

Sexual Assault - 11​

Sexual Harassment - 14​

​T​otal Cases - 47* **​

*some cases have multiple charges

** It is important to note that not all cases involve Oxy community members as Respondents, and not all of cases involve incidents that occurred on campus or during 2015-2016. The "no Title IX charge" cases are those in which community members sought support from the Title IX Office but allegations could not be characterized as sex discrimination.  In those cases, immediate assistance was provided and the individual was referred to the appropriate office for follow up.  

Next Steps:

Audit the preliminary figures and finalize for fall report.

Policies and Procedures

Occidental Sexual Misconduct Policy

Occidental’s revised Sexual Misconduct Policy went into effect on Feb. 8 after the Oxy community was formally notified through a Feb. 4 campus-wide email. One of the most significant changes in the new policy is the adoption of an investigative model for responding to complaints. Under the new policy, one investigator (or in some cases two) investigates and adjudicates complaints using a process that allows both the complainant and respondent to review and comment on the evidence gathered before a decision is made. If the policy was violated, the matter is referred to a review panel to recommend sanctions.

In the wake of the approval of the revised policy, the focus has been on implementation. This has included revising materials we provide to complainants and respondents during the formal complaint process and the training we provide to members of the community.

A role that was importamt under the previous policy and continues to be critical under the new policy is the opportunity for students involved in the process to have advisors assists them.  Advisors, while not representing students, provide support and assistance to students as they move through the process. 

Since last year, when the federal law required colleges and universities to allow students to have advisors of their choice, we have seen an increase in the number of advisors from outside Oxy: parents, friends, and lawyers. The challenge remains how to ensure that those advisors from outside the community understand our policy and process. To that end, the Title IX Office offers training to advisors and is in the process of developing a brochure for advisors. We will also continue to train those Oxy community members willing to serve as advisors. One of the objectives for the 2016-17 academic year is to identify those willing to serve as advisors to respondents. To have a fair process, it is important to increase the number of community members available to assist respondents during the process.

The new formal complaint resolution process is only applicable to allegations against students.  A priority for 2016-17 is to revise the procedure applicable when the allegations are made against staff, administrators and faculty. 

Next Steps:

Draft and implement grievance procedure for staff, administrators and faculty

Identify and train community members willing to serve as advisors for respondents

Preferred Name and Gender Policy

As part of an ongoing effort to foster a more inclusive community, the College adopted a preferred name and gender policy, effective Feb. 11. In doing so, Occidental institutionalized its existing practice of making it possible for students to select the first name and gender they would like used on internal college records, including class rosters and schedules, student directory listings, course evaluations and clearance forms.

Adopting a policy is only a first step; we also focused on trying to ensure successful implementation by arranging gender identity training.  The Title IX team, Campus Safety and the Student Affairs Division attended training on March 3, 2016. Training for senior leadership, athletics, admissions and financial staff has been scheduled for June 15, 2016. We also have scheduled an interdepartmental meeting May 23, 2016 for various departments to share what we are doing to support members of the LGBTQ+ community and what steps we can take in the future to improve that support.

Next Steps:

Provide additional gender identity training

Assess status of programs and policies 

 

LAPD Memorandum of Agreement

As announced in an April 27 campus-wide email, the College signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the LAPD.  The MOA defines how Campus Safety and LAPD collaborate in reporting and investigating sexual assault and other major crimes.

In addition to the handling of cases, the MOA also calls for the College and LAPD to promote positive working relations and collaborate on preventative education and outreach programs, joint training, support for survivors, and protection of the legal rights of respondents. The agreement is effective through Dec. 1, 2016, and will automatically be extended to Dec. 31, 2017 if neither side objects. Future MOAs can be developed further and amended based on the insights gained as we work together with the LAPD to ensure a safe campus.

Link to FAQs and the MOA  http://www.oxy.edu/sexual-respect-title-ix/policies-procedures/lapd-memorandum-agreement-faq

Next steps:

Identify collaborative training opportunities

 

Preventative Education

For the past several years the College has used the online program, Think About It, as a part of its prevention education program.  Students are required to complete the program each year.  Using an online prevention program ensures that all students, especially first-year students,  start thinking about sexual violence and are introduced to the Sexual Misconduct Policy prior to joining the Oxy community.  Online education is part of broader prevention education programming including mandatory orientation sessions and other speakers and events during the year.  

Prior to selecting the program that we will use for the next three years, we invited students to serve as a focus group to provide feedback on the three programs under consideration.  The students participated in two focus group sessions.  The first session was to learn more about the objectives and purpose of online education and then to provide feedback on available programs, including Think About It.  During the time between the two focus groups, students completed one of the programs, compiled feedback, and presented that feedback to the focus group members and to the larger group during our second meeting.   What we learned from the focus group was similar to our own impressions; that each program had different strengths. 

In addition to providing feedback on various programs, the focus group was invaluable in identifying ways to improve the online education program.  

After considering focus group feedback and reviewing other feedback that we received about the program the Title IX Office has decided to continue to use Think About It for the next three years.  One of the reasons that we selected Think About It is that the company is developing a version of that is specifically designed for sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Although the version of this program will not be ready to use in fall 2016, there are other existing programs in their library that that we believe are more appropriate for students after their first year that we will use this fall.  We will also provide clear instructions on the availability of an opt out alternative for survivors. 

Next Steps: 

Employ and assess Think About It programs for students after their first year

Publicize the opt-out alternative for survivors

 

Campus Committee on Sexual Responsibility & Misconduct (CCSRM)

The CCSRM is a diverse, multi-constituency college committee whose charge primary charges are to review practices, procedures, and programming relevant to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and Title IX issues and provide feedback to the Title IX Coordinator on educational programs/initiatives and other sex discrimination policy initiatives. 

The CCRSM sent a revised Sexual Misconduct to President Veitch on December 9, 2015 and the policy was adopted on February 8, 2016.  CCRSM also provided feedback on the sanction guidelines and the Title IX webpage. 

Committee minutes for each committee meeting are posted at: http://www.oxy.edu/sexual-respect-title-ix/people/campus-committee-sexual-responsibility-misconduct/minutes.

Next Steps:

CCRSM has recommended that President Veitch appoint a committee for 2016-2017. 

 

Staffing

Because of her new appointment as Associate Dean of the College for Research/Divisional Dean of the Sciences, Chemistry Professor Eileen Spain will no longer serve as a Title IX Deputy Coordinator in 2016-17. Professor Spain was a wonderful addition to the Title IX team, and will be much missed. Because of the success of having a faculty member serve as a Title IX Deputy Coordinator, the Title IX Office is actively seeking to recruit a replacement for Prof. Spain.

 

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Investigation

Occidental continues to cooperate fully and respond promptly and thoroughly to requests from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights as part of its Title IX investigation of the College, based on the complaint filed in April 2013.

Occidental has not yet received the findings from OCR.  According to the latest data, by 2014 OCR sexual violence investigations at post-secondary institutions took an average of 1,469 days – four years – to complete.

 

Sincerely,

Ruth Jones

Title IX Coordinator, Associate Dean

323-259-1338

Ruthjones@oxy.edu