Preparing for new Title IX regulations

In anticipation of draft Title IX regulations being issued by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the October UI Anti-Violence Coalition meeting focused on demystifying the rulemaking process.  Coalition members identified ways they would share information and encourage other stakeholders to participate in the open comment period. Coalition members hosted post-card writing sessions, workshops, and information tables in the IMU. On November 16th, Secretary DeVos released the proposed Title IX rules and the open public comment period closed in January 2019.  The University of Iowa conducted a thorough review of the U.S. Department of Education’s new proposed Title IX rules on sexual misconduct for higher education institutions.  Members of the Office of Student Accountability, University Human Resources, the Office of General Counsel, Threat Assessment Team, Department of Public Safety, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity served on the review committee. The Title IX Coordinator met and consulted with members of the Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct, University of Iowa Student Government, Graduate Professional Student Government, confidential victim advocacy agencies, and other members of the UI Anti-Violence Coalition as each readied to submit their written response to the proposed rules. The university letter formally submitted on January 30, 2019 can be found on the OSMRC website. Final rules are expected to be issued in fall 2019.

 

Speak Out Iowa climate survey

In 2018, the UI Anti-Violence Coalition released results from the second Speak Out Iowa survey and UI Anti-Violence Plan for Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, and Stalking (Summer 2018 – Spring 2021). Student experiences continue to be at the core of UI's comprehensive strategy to respond to sexual misconduct, dating violence, and stalking on campus. All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students were invited to participate in the survey. A shorter survey and comprehensive marking plan lead to a response rate of 22.8%. “Campus climate surveys on sexual misconduct provide campus specific prevalence estimates of sexual misconduct (sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, sexual violence victimization) experienced by students. The surveys also provide data on students’ perceptions of campus safety and how the institution responds to sexual misconduct, their exposure to sexual misconduct information and education, and their awareness of campus resources for addressing sexual misconduct,” says Carolyn Hartley, chair of the Campus Climate Survey Subcommittee. Hartley continued to say, “The data from these surveys provides campus administrators with actionable information about their campus climate to inform campus specific prevention and intervention efforts. The process of conducting campus climate surveys also signals to the campus community the institution’s commitment to addressing sexual misconduct.”

Survey results indicated that students have trust in campus services and how the UI will respond to a report of sexual misconduct. Results also continue to show that students are at increased risk of sexual assault during the first semester, which is consistent with research, but that this risk may persist into the second semester. With the increased response rate, the UI was also able to make comparisons by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. The findings reinforced what we know from research, students who identify as LGBQ are at an increased risk of sexual misconduct. The key findings and full report are linked on the OSMRC website.

The UI Anti-Violence Plan guides the campus and outlines efforts to respond to sexual misconduct, dating violence, and stalking. The 2018-2021 Anti-Violence Plan includes new action items as well as four items carried over from the previous plan. It focuses on prevention and education, intervention, and policy, and is influenced by the Speak Out Iowa survey, evidence-informed practices, and input from members of the UI Anti-Violence Coalition, survivors, and stakeholders.

Some strategies within the plan include: ensuring campus prevention and education efforts meet the needs of racial and ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, international students, and LGBTQ communities on campus; increasing knowledge of how to get help and where to report; and identifying and utilizing a variety of mechanisms to collect campus feedback to inform policy review and revision. To keep campus informed of progress, updates will made regularly on the plan webpage. The complete 2018-2021 Anti-Violence Plan can be found on the OSMRC website.

“The plan includes input from 10 stakeholder groups which included students, shared governance representatives, staff and faculty, administrators, and community partners; I am grateful for their input and ongoing commitment to our shared work,” stated Monique DiCarlo, UI Title IX Coordinator.

 

Student respondent resources implemented

The Office of Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator established services for students being investigated for a sexual misconduct policy violation.  OSMRC reaches out to responding students after they receive notice of investigation from the Office of Student Accountability.  OSMRC works to ensure these students have access to information about the complaint process and are linked with confidential resources.  A response coordinator will explain the complaint resolution process as described in the Student Misconduct Procedure; review any interim measures that have been put in place, and assist with requests for reconsideration if needed; work to better understand and help address an individual’s needs or concerns through accommodations or other measures related to the complaint resolution process; talk about resources for confidential support; and discuss the university’s Anti-Retaliation Policy. OSMRC is not a confidential resource, so anything shared with the response coordinator may also be shared with the investigator assigned to the case. For this reason, the focus of interactions is on the process and available resources, not the allegations. OSMRC does not give legal advice or assist with their defense.