The Senate Responsible Reporting Working Group

We’ve set up a working group to rewrite the Responsible Employees Policy, as follows. It is a small group, but it will consult with all Senate constituents.

Charge:

The Senate Responsible Reporting Working Group is tasked with drafting a new Responsible Employees Policy for the Senate and Administration to consider as a replacement for the current emergency policy. The working group will follow the Senate’s normal open meetings rules, and will solicit input broadly from the Administration, the Senate, and the university community, and will hold at least one town hall type meeting for this purpose. The working group may seek outside advice, particularly on considerations involving compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The draft policy sent to the Senate will be accompanied by a document explaining the rationale for the recommended rules and procedures.

Membership:

  1. Merle Weiner, Professor, Law (Chair)
  2. Phyllis Barkhurst, OA, Director of 90by30, Co-Director of the UO Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect
  3. Jennifer Freyd, Professor, Psychology
  4. Bill Harbaugh, Professor, Economics
  5. Darci Heroy, OA, Interim Title IX Coordinator
  6. Melissa Barnes, Psychology (grad student)
  7. Mckenna O’Dougherty, Women & Gender Studies (undergraduate student)

General Council Kevin Reed’s 8/19 email:

Dear Colleagues,

President Schill has approved emergency policy V.11.02 and associated changes to UO’s grievance policy and discrimination policy relating to the prohibition of discrimination and the process for responding to reports of prohibited discrimination. These temporary changes will be in effect for 180 days and provide needed clarification of who is a “responsible employee” and therefore required to report prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment.

In summary, the emergency policy:

  • Reinforces the expectation that all employees are required to communicate reports of prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, to:
    • The Title IX Coordinator;
    • The Office of Crisis Intervention and Sexual Violence Support Services; or
    • The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity.
  • Clarifies that the following offices are “confidential resources” that can help connect students and employees with support services and help them navigate their options, without being required to report the alleged misconduct:
    • The Office of Crisis Intervention and Sexual Violence Support Services;
    • The University Health Center;
    • Ombudsperson; and
    • The University Counseling Center.
  • Provides clarification regarding when a report made in a privileged context does not trigger a duty to report, including:
    • Reports made to an attorney in the context of providing legal counsel (such as student legal services);
    • Reports made by unit members to a steward of their union;
    • Information shared in a public awareness event (such as “Take Back the Night”);
    • Information received during an IRB approved research project; and
    • Reports made by students in the context of an academic assignment.
  • Provides a pathway for certain faculty or staff to receive training and authorization from the Title IX Coordinator to be exempt from the reporting requirement.This emergency policy reflects the input of the University Senate’s Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and incorporates many thoughtful suggestions made by stakeholders in three separate meetings of the senate as it debated, but was unable to enact a permanent policy this past spring.President Schill and I have asked the senate to return to the task and make modifications that reflect sound policy and remain compliant with our legal obligations under Title IX. To that end, University Senate leadership have appointed a working group, led by Knight Professor of Law, Merle Weiner, to seek broader consensus on a legally sufficient policy.

    It is my hope that the senate can run an open and transparent process, one that relies on subject-matter experts and finds a careful balance between supporting a student’s control of whether to initiate a formal response to an incident of sexual harassment or prohibited discrimination and the university’s need to receive information necessary to stop and prevent discrimination. If the senate once again is unable to pass a policy, or if the policy it crafts does not meet minimum legal requirements, the president will be prepared to act at the end of the 180-day life of this emergency policy.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Reed
    Vice President and General Counsel

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