MALVERN, Pa., March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday, March 17, 2014, ATIXA's emissaries, W. Scott Lewis, Saundra K. Schuster, Daniel C. Swinton and Brett A. Sokolow met with the General Counsel to Vice President Biden and the Director of the White House Office of Violence Against Women.
The discussion was remarkably wide-ranging in breadth and significant in depth. ATIXA's leadership was asked to identify the top five priorities to include within the upcoming FAQs from the Office for Civil Rights on the April 2011 Title IX Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), weigh in on the SaVE regulations and rulemaking process, and asked how OCR could be more effective at not just enforcing, but empowering compliance with Title IX. ATIXA's leaders were asked to suggest priorities for the Task Force, from the vantage point of working with hundreds of campuses. In the course of this dialogue, ATIXA addressed:
- The need to assure that campus Title IX Coordinators have the authority necessary to achieve compliance;
- The need to brief campus presidents and trustees to better understand the role and responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator, deputies and investigators;
- Separating the coordination and investigation functions;
- Having more than one coordinator;
- Mandated reporting, responsible employees, the convergence of Title IX, Title VII and the Clery Act reporting responsibilities, the need to clarify the confidentiality of advocates and provide clear policy and training (this was the most discussed subject);
- The need to institutionalize the advocacy role on every campus;
- The necessity of a prevention education professional on every campus;
- Resourcing compliance (federal fiscal assistance is a 2015 governmental budget priority);
- The need to invest in, develop and promulgate effective prevention methodologies;
- The lack of clarity in the DCL regarding reluctant victims; Jane/John Doe reporting options;
- The need to clarify FERPA/Title IX about sharing of outcomes with complainants;
- The desire for OCR to better explain other reasons to delay investigations beyond law enforcement evidence gathering (such as a request by a victim);
- The importance of codifying OCR guidance as part of the Campus SaVE Act's compliance standards (a major topic priority for us);
- The role of attorneys as advisors (versus representatives) in campus resolution proceedings;
- The evolution from due process based hearings to the investigation-based civil rights resolution model occurring now on college campuses;
- The need for fundamental reform of the campus appeals process; the danger of an open-ended exemption of appeals from the 60-day resolution goal;
- The desire to see campuses implement sanctions even when an appeal is pending;
- Offender profiles;
- Protecting due process rights;
- Changes of housing/classes and equity;
- Remedies and conflict of interest;
- Frustration with uneven OCR enforcement actions; pressure OCR is feeling to find violations based on the Task Force mandate (and a clear statement from OVW that no such instruction has gone out to OCR);
- Creating a Title IX OCR Help Desk, regular provision of guidance to higher education;
- Clarifying that the standards elaborated in the DCL apply to all areas of sex/gender discrimination, not just to sexual violence and sexual harassment;
- Helping higher education to see that compliance with Title IX extends beyond the DCL;
- The desire of college and university administrators for bright line rules;
- The challenges of Title IX compliance in the community college setting;
- The value of regular climate surveys;
- The danger of defaulting to orientation as the sole venue for prevention education for incoming students.
In addition to discussing these topics, ATIXA provided them with copies of the ATIXA Campus Sexual Misconduct Model Policy and Grievance Procedures, and the ATIXA One Policy, One Process Model – A Model Policy and Procedure for Civil Rights Equity Grievance Resolution for all Faculty, Students and Employees. They had questions about each, and seemed impressed with the documents' comprehensive treatment of the subject. ATIXA also shared copies of the ATIXA Title IX/SaVE Prevention and Training Checklist, the ATIXA Mandated Reporting Model Policy and several Title IX climate survey templates. ATIXA is so pleased to have had the chance to carry these important messages from the membership to the White House, and thank you to the members for the diligence and energy they devote to continued compliance.
Marianne Price, M.S.
Director of Educational Programs
116 E. King Street
Malvern, PA 19355
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SOURCE Association of Title IX Administrators