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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, August 1, 2014

One of the most important requirements of Title IX, and one that many schools may be scrambling to fulfill, is that any school that receives federal funding must appoint a Title IX coordinator. Today, we want to focus on this requirement, with a few stories about the duties of Title IX coordinators, and some interviews with Title IX compliance officers about what their position requires.

Must-Knows for Title IX Coordinators

This piece, written by Anthony Walesby, current Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs for the University of Michigan, and former federal investigator for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, outlines the must-knows for Title IX coordinators and the crucial role they play in addressing campus sexual violence. Walesby emphasizes the importance of staying informed about Title IX requirements since a school’s Title IX compliance is ultimately the responsibility of its Title IX coordinator, but he also points out that compliance requires the participation of many campus partners who have other interests and concerns. Therefore, Walesby gives this advice to Title IX coordinators:  “Your work may not always be appreciated or popular with everyone all the time, but in the end, you are doing what is in the best interest of your institution. Always keep that in mind.”

Q&A with Stanford’s New Title IX Coordinator

Much like Walesby, Stanford’s recently appointed dedicated Title IX coordinator, Catherine Criswell, comes to the university after a 19-year career with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, in which she focused largely on Title IX investigations. In this interview, Criswell talks about how that experience will inform her work on the Stanford campus, discusses the importance of creating “lasting culture change around issues of sexual assault and sexual violence,” and lays out some of her plans for her work as Title IX coordinator, including establishing a campus climate survey, as recommended by the White House task force report.  In addition to being a neutral investigator, Criswell sees her role as educating the campus community about Title IX rights and reaching out to students, faculty, and staff to find out more “about the climate around these issues at Stanford and about what they would like to see happen.”

Q&A with Harvard’s New Title IX Coordinator

We’ve reported before on Harvard’s new sexual assault policy, set to go into effect with the start of the coming school year. In this interview Mia Karvonides, Harvard’s Title IX officer (and another former OCR attorney) discusses the challenges of implementing the new policy across multiple Schools, each with their own Title IX coordinators, the process of formulating the new policy, and the resources available to Harvard students who are victim/survivors of sexual violence and harassment. However, as Karvonides points out, Harvard is one community and the new central office she heads – the Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution – will investigate complaints of sexual misconduct against students and “create a new level of continuity and consistency.”

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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, July 11, 2014

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s report on college sexual assault, released earlier this week and based on the results of a survey of 440 schools and three roundtable discussions, concluded that most colleges and universities simply aren’t doing enough to prevent sexual assault on their campuses. With that in mind, we want to use this week’s roundup to bring you three stories of measures schools and lawmakers are taking to address the sexual assault crisis.

Can Banning Grain Alcohol Stop Campus Sexual Assault?

In Maryland, lawmakers are following the lead of neighboring states Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania by banning the sale of 190-proof grain alcohols. Supporters of the ban, a group that includes state legislators and local college administrators, describe such liquors, which include the popular Everclear, as “a different category of alcohol” and “the worst of the grain alcohol.”

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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, April 4, 2014

To mark the end of the first week of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we wanted to highlight three stories of survivors, campuses, and legislators doing what they can to increase awareness about sexual assault.

Survivor’s Open Letter to Harvard Prompts Change

A sexual assault survivor’s “Dear Harvard: You Win” letter , detailing her assault, her ensuing struggle with Harvard University to have her assailant removed from her dorm, and the resulting depression she still struggles with, is a tough read, but one that seems to be provoking at least some change. In response, Harvard has formed a task force which will review the university’s sexual assault policy, criticized by the letter’s author as being specifically responsible for discouraging her from pressing charges against her assailant.

McCaskill Turns Her Attention to College Sexual Assault

Having already championed legislation that reformed how the United States military and military academies handle sexual assault cases, Senator and former sex crimes prosecutor Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is now turning her attention to the problem of sexual assault in higher education. McCaskill has written Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, requesting detailed information on how the Department of Justice and Education Department enforce laws addressing how colleges handle sexual assault. McCaskill has said, “I fear that, like the U.S. military, we’re going to find problems on college campuses just as systemic as our troops faced.”

Ball State University Aims to Change Culture with Think About It

As part of an ongoing effort to fight sexual violence on campus, and to comply with the requirements of the Campus SaVE Act, Ball State University will be using the online-training program Think About It to increase awareness about sexual assault amongst their student body. All incoming freshmen will be required to take the training program, which integrates substance abuse and sexual assault training in a single interactive course.

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