A UCSB graduate student representative for the UC Title IX Student Advisory Board presented a series of proposed UC Title IX policy changes to the Associate Students Senate Wednesday evening.
The policies are a part of the university’s Policies Applying to Campus Activities Organizations and Students (PACACOS), a collection of “University-wide policies relating to student life.” Jennifer Selvidge, one of the board’s members, presented the changes to the Senate.
The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) is “working through an overhaul of the policy” after the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights found that UC Berkeley Title IX office was “out of compliance with federal law,” Selvidge said at the meeting over Skype.
UC Berkeley’s agreement with the federal government in order to meet the federal law requirements includes that system-wide policies are implemented — the UCOP office decided that a “broader review and revision process” at the same time would be appropriate.
“We as a board do not uniformly support all of [the proposed revisions]. Some of them came from our suggestions, others came from suggestions from other interested parties,” Selvidge said in an email.
The board is working to ensure feedback from students during the Senate meeting and across the UC campuses will taken into account when editing and finalizing the policy changes, according to Selvidge. The Student Advisory Board also requested a phone conference with UCOP to discuss the feedback from students before they present the changes to the UC Regents, whose approval is needed to enact the changes.
While UCOP is obligated to report several policy changes to the federal government by July 31, UCOP hopes to implement the full set of revisions in January 2019. However, UCOP staff turnover could delay or change their planned date for implementation, according to Selvidge.
The Title IX Student Advisory Board is comprised of one undergraduate and one graduate representative from each UC campus. The intent of the board is to involve student voices in policy changes, to implement system-wide “successful prevention efforts and programming” and to provide UC students with a “consistent experience.”
At the meeting on Wednesday, Selvidge walked the Senate through the current process of filing a report with Title IX office.
She then addressed and explained each individual change that the UCOP office is attempting to make to the language of PACACOS as well as the adjudication model. The adjudication model is the process of Title IX investigations and the subsequent recommendation of the Title IX office regarding the occurrence of a policy violation.
UCOP is proposing to add language to the policy requiring campuses to use the sexual misconduct adjudication process. UCOP also proposes to formally define sexual violence in PACACOS as it is defined in the system-wide sexual misconduct that applies to faculty and staff.
UCOP also proposes to include regulations to withhold transcripts and diplomas in an effort to prevent students from transferring out of the UC system until “all allegations against a student or any assigned sanctions and student disciplinary conditions have been fully resolved.”
In cases like these, the student will be notified of the hold, the circumstances in which the hold can be removed and the process in which the student can appeal the hold.
Selvidge presented proposed changes from the UCOP to the adjudication model, most of which outline different processes involved when students file a report with the Title IX office.
Proposed Changes to the Adjudication Model:
The first specification states that in instances when non-sexual policy violations occur in concurrence with sexual violence policy violations, they can both be adjudicated together.
The model is also being updated to indicate that the victim in a sexual assault case cannot be denied a request for a formal investigation, even though the university can move forward with proceedings regarding sexual assault without the consent of the victim.
The language of the adjudication model is also being modified to explain the role of the allowed “support person” and advisor during proceedings as well as trying to limit the role lawyers have previously played.
The university is also allowing itself more time to address the sexual violence, allotting 120 calendar days from when the Title IX office notifies the involved parties of the charges instead of the previous start date of when the Title IX office receives the report, Selvidge said.
The changes also outline what is included in a formal notice of charges, allows students the right to ask questions of the other party through the investigator and explains what types of evidence can be included or excluded in an investigation.
The student review process of the investigation report and the structure and timing of the decision of the Student Conduct Office are also outlined in the proposed changes.
It also explains that the university does not advocate for or against an appeal and outlines the process by which an appeal can be made as well.
The proposed changes also require consistent training for the appeal board.
Update: The article was updated with information to clarify several proposed changes, the revision process that UCOP is currently carrying out and Selvidge’s position.
A version of the article appeared on p.4 of the May 31 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Thanks for being an awesome rep Jenny!