US16/17-07: Student Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Complaint and Response policy proposal

Complete Motion

Date of Notice:

Current Status:  Approved by the Senate 11/16/2017
Returning with Administrative Revisions, April 2017 – Please see related documents — Revised version approved by the Senate 04/12/2017

Motion type: Policy Proposal

Sponsor: Senate Responsible Reporting Work Group


Motion:

Section I

1.1   WHEREAS, it is important that students, faculty, and staff clearly understand options available for dealing with instances of sexual and gender-based violence; and

1.2   WHEREAS, seeking assistance and reporting are two such options; and

1.3   WHEREAS, existing University of Oregon policy on these matters was last adopted in 2004; and

1.4   WHEREAS, new guidance has been provided by the U.S. Department of Education¹s Office of Civil Rights, especially since 2011; and

1.5   WHEREAS, the University President enacted an emergency policy in February 2016 on these matters; and

1.6   WHEREAS, Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 was adopted to ensure equality in education and to remove gender-based impediments to academic success; and

1.7   WHEREAS it is clear that academic success is an academic matter as commonly understood in education; and

1.8   WHEREAS, the University Senate voted against a proposal for a permanent policy that a committee offered in May 2016; and

1.9   WHEREAS, the University President enacted a new emergency policy in August 2016 on these matters while encouraging the Senate to continue its work on a permanent policy; and

1.10   WHEREAS, the Responsible Reporting Work Group (RRWG) includes faculty, students, and administrators who have worked collaboratively to write a new policy, including consultation and public forums with others concerned with a potential policy; and

1.11   WHEREAS, the RRWG developed the following statement of principles to guide its work:

1) Be consistent with the core mission of the UO
2) Be based on data, when that data exists.
3) Be guided by the spirit of Title IX: to protect educational equity.
4) Do no harm.
5) Recognize that student survivors are adults and have autonomy.
6) Respect academic freedom.
7) Protect from liability University employees who are acting pursuant to the policy.
8) Stay grounded in the reality of how the University deals with reports of sexual violence.
9) Be cognizant of the legal and national context in which the policy will operate;

Section II

2.1   THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the following policy be adopted by the University Senate and forwarded to the University President for his consideration and approval (see Related Documents section):


Financial Impact:

The overall financial impact is uncertain. Implementing the policy will involve employee training, but training is already required under the law and existing policy.  The existing safe.uoregon.edu website will need updating, but UO already has knowledgeable staff for this work. The policy recommends, but does not require, that UO provide an reporting escrow system, at an unknown cost. On the other hand, by establishing reasonable reporting rules for employees we expect, but cannot ensure, that it will reduce UO’s exposure to legal damages related to non-compliance.


Related Documents:

Student Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Complaint and Response policy

Nov. 7th draft: Student Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Complaint and Response policy

Nov. 11 draft: Student Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Complaint and Response

Updated Proposal: April 2017

5 thoughts on “US16/17-07: Student Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Complaint and Response policy proposal”

  1. I am providing some resources I have compiled for those who want to read a bit more on this topic

    GENERAL

    Universities not forcing all faculty to report:
    http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/disclosure/withoutforcedreporting.html

    Compendium of research articles relevant to the issue:
    http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/disclosure/research.html

    News articles and commentary:
    http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/disclosure/requiredreporting.html

    UO SPECIFIC INFORMATION

    Recommendation Regarding Mandatory Reporting from the Report of the University of Oregon President’s Review Panel, December 9, 2014.
    http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/disclosure/uo2014recommendation.pdf

    UO Town Hall, Monday Nov 7, 5:00-6:30, 180 PLC
    https://calendar.uoregon.edu/event/who_should_you_call_town_hall_on_the_future_of_sexual_violence_reporting#.WBoDM-ErKRs

  2. I commend the work from the RRWG and all involved – the current proposal is miles ahead of where it was the last time I read it.

    I’m curious about the language in III.C.3, reproduced here:
    “””
    3. No Report, No University Response. When appropriate in the conversation, inform the student that unless there is a report made to a Designated Reporter or the Title IX office, the university will not take action to stop the discrimination or harassment, and cannot take action to remedy its effects or potentially prevent future instances of discrimination and harassment.
    “””

    Two things:
    -Since this is framed as an obligation, I assume that Student-Directed Employees are required to say some relatively complete version of these statements. As written, the last phrase strikes me as problematic: “…or remedy its effects or potentially prevent future instances of discrimination and harassment.” That seems like it has the potential to come across as blaming the student for not ‘remedying the effects’ of their discrimination or harassment, and for future instances of the same. The sentiment seems discordant with the larger purpose of listening and respecting the experience of the reporting student. Can anyone help me understand the thinking here?

    -This thought is less directly practical, but still raised a question in my mind. The negative wording “unless there is a report made […] the university will not take action” seems to reaffirm the aura of institutional betrayal and – as Dr. Freyd put it – “Reporting Theatre” by impelling reporting to the university without guaranteeing responsive action. This may have been unintentional, but as written that statement says that without a report it is certain there will be no action taken, but doesn’t say that with a report it is certain that there will be action taken. Wouldn’t it be a strong signal of support from the University to reverse the wording and guarantee that action will be taken on all reports?

    A few thoughts, would love to hear responses from anyone involved.
    Thanks for all the work y’all have put in here,
    -Jonny

    1. Dear Jonny: Thank you for your comments. You make good points. We phrased the language as we did in #3 not to blame the victim, but to make clear that if the institution doesn’t know of the incident (though a report) then the institution can’t take action.

      To address your points, we suggest adding the following language to the end of the paragraph at III.C.3: “because the university will not know of the incident. With a report, the university will be obligated to take action on the report.” The provision would then read:

      No Report, No University Response. When appropriate in the conversation, inform the student that unless there is a report made to a Designated Reporter or the Title IX office, the university will not take action to stop the discrimination or harassment, and cannot take action to remedy its effects or potentially prevent future instances of discrimination and harassment because the university will not know of the incident. With a report, the university will be obligated to take action on the report.

      After this policy passes the Senate (which we hope will occur tomorrow), we will have time to negotiate with the President over any matters of disagreement. The proposal will then come back to the Senate. It is during this period of negotiation that I would propose we add this clarification. It is hard to imagine anyone, including the President, would disagree with your sensible suggestion for a clarification.

      Thanks. Merle Weiner

  3. I am very much looking forward to the resolution of this policy formation process. The committee should be commended yet again for the multiple rounds of revision and meetings volunteered to the UO community.

    I do have a reservation about the title of the new role “Title IX Ambassador” (Sec. IX.D) At the UO the term, “Ambassador” has a wide understanding in many administrative units to mean a student who provides a tour of campus. Our office employs 58 Ambassadors who provide tours of campus to prospective students, families, and campus visitors. I worry about the potential confusion of the term “Ambassador” being used for two very different roles.

    I’d like to recommend an alternative to the title “Title IX Ambassador,” such as “Title IX Representative,” “Title IX Delegate,” or “Title IX Advocate.”

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