Creighton Students Union, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center held a Title IX Student Listening Session on Tuesday over Zoom to discuss the chang- es that have been made nationwide to Title IX, how those changes will be implemented and how they will affect Creighton students.
Kailen Wong, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and vice president for finance for CSU moderated the session.
The session began with a presentation from Allison Taylor, executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Title IX coordinator.
In responding to the changes, the office split their original Title IX policy into two policies: the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and the Non-Discrimination Policy.
Taylor said that the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy includes any sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking and retaliation that occur. The incident must occur within Creighton’s property and within Creighton’s educational programs and activities.
Taylor said any incident that does not fall under these guidelines will fall under the Non-Discrimination Policy.
One of the changes that Creighton has implemented is the default procedure of adjudication for sexual harassment claims to go through a hearing board made up of faculty, staff and students. Taylor said that for the time being, hearing boards will be conducted via Zoom.
The office is currently in the process of selecting students, faculty and staff for the hearing board positions.
Taylor said that hearing boards will be made up of three members from a pool of about 15 people.
Each party is required to have an adviser present at the hearings. The board will meet with both parties, along with witnesses to the event. The board will then deliberate and deliver a decision within one week.
Taylor said that there is also an appeal process that students can go through fol- lowing the hearing. Then, sanctions will be delivered.
“It’s not a fast process. I don’t say that to scare anybody but to be transparent that it is a process that is going to run a little bit long,” Taylor said. “And that’s truly just due to the fact that all the parties have rights, and we want to make sure that we respect those rights.”
In contrast, Taylor said that claims under the Non-Discrimination Policy will be adjudicated by a single-decision maker by default.
In both cases, parties can “opt in” to an adaptable resolution; however, both parties must agree to this route.
“If somebody opts in to this adaptable resolution, we’re leaving that much more formal process and we’re going into a process that’s a little bit more collaborative in nature,” Taylor said.
Taylor said that there are many different ways that adaptable resolutions can be carried out.
Taylor said that in the 2019-20 academic year, the office received 168 total reports or referrals. About 46% of those were related to sexual harassment, she said.
The listening session continued with a short presentation from Meredith Lierk, di- rector of the VIP Center, who spoke about the services that the center can offer to survivors.
Lierk said that among the services offered at the VIP Center are safety planning, Title IX reporting options, academic support, medical support, legal support and helping with protection orders.
Lierk said that if students ever need the VIP Center, “100% we see you. Our hearts are open, and you always have a home with us.”
The session ended with an open discus- sion where students were allowed to ask questions either anonymously in the chat or verbally on Zoom.
One question inquired about who will be selected to be on the hearing boards.
“In terms of who is on the hearing board, that’s something that we are actually recruiting for right now,” Taylor said, but she explained that students, faculty and staff are currently being nominated and recom- mended by deans offices, vice presidents and CSU.
Taylor also recognized that the members of the hearing board will need to come from all around campus in order to deal with any conflicts that might come up.
Taylor said that the office is looking for feedback on the changes to the Title IX policy and will be submitting an “updated” policy draft to the University Policy Committee by Oct. 14.
A feedback session is scheduled for Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. on Zoom.