The Office of Equity and Compliance initiated a new conversation series last Wednesday, aiming to clarify misconceptions and debunk myths surrounding the new federal Title IX policies enforced on campus.
“There are a lot of changes right now with regard to Title IX,” said Gabriela Garcia, deputy discrimination, harassment and retaliation administrator and complaint resolution manager. “We really wanted to connect with students to make sure you all are receiving accurate information.”
As reported by The Poly Post, federal Title IX policy changes — effective as of Aug. 14 — modified the way institutions are to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, changed the legal definition of the term “sexual harassment” and implemented new investigative means in response to a case.
The previous means of investigation by the California State University system — known as Addendum A —used the terms sexual harassment, dating violence and stalking as three separate umbrella terms under Title IX. The new federally mandated policies now use the term sexual harassment as the main umbrella term to define all types of harassment, domestic and dating violence.
The modifications sparked apprehension among faculty and students alike, creating many misconceptions and worries surrounding the new investigative process.
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity and Compliance Dawnita Franklin explained how the CSU system chose to add an addendum to comply with the new Title IX policies rather than change their entire investigative process.
Franklin gave kudos to the CSU system on their strategic plan to add an addendum — allowing CSU campuses to follow new federal mandates without the need to make major changes to or completely replace previous investigative policies.
This addendum does not completely replace previous investigative procedures but creates an additional process for cases to be examined.
Cases will be processed under the new Addendum B if the misconduct occurred:
- On or after Aug. 14 of this year
- Within the United States
- At a university sponsored program or activity
- On the university campus
- If off-campus, at a location or event over which the University implemented significant control over
- At a building owned or controlled by a student organization officially recognized by the university
“Addendum B was brilliant in my eyes,” said Franklin. “It also allows us to still review things under Addendum A.”
One of the largest misconceptions of Addendum B is the belief that cases will not be investigated if they do not meet the new criteria. Rather, if a case does not meet the requirements of Addendum B, it can still be processed under the previous Addendum A.
Operations and Program Coordinator for the Office of Equity and Compliance Tania Calvillo touched on additional Title IX myths, such as that the Title IX process requiring an individual to file a formal complaint.
“That is certainly a myth,” said Calvillo. “There are different supportive measures, resources and processes that we can take when we receive a report.”
According to Calvillo, another falsehood circulating is that a victim’s respondent will be the one to directly question them at a hearing.
Though a hearing is mandatory, both parties will not directly ask each other questions. Instead, a neutral third-party hearing officer or advisor will separately meet and ask both parties questions to prevent any potential trauma.
Calvillo further clarified individuals do not have to be in the same room — physically or virtually — if they are in any way uncomfortable with the other party involved.
“If one of the party’s requests not to be face to face with the other party, and once we’re back on campus, then that’s another accommodation we can make if it makes the parties more comfortable to not be in the same room,” added Calvillo.
In efforts to continue the conversation, the Office of Equity and Compliance plans to host an additional event on how Title IX policies further impact faculty and staff. Information of this event will be released at a later date.
For detailed information on new CPP Title IX policies visit www.cpp.edu/officeofequity.
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