Over the past few years, the University has made efforts to improve the implementation of its Title IX policy. They updated the community of their latest actions in a campus-wide email yesterday.

The email, from Vice President for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX & Sec 504 Officer Antonio Farias, outlined steps they have taken in 2017 and recent ones since the beginning of the semester.

“While Wesleyan already conducts training for all faculty and staff on sexual harassment and discrimination, the Office for Equity & Inclusion, Human Resources, Academic Affairs, and Graduate Student Services are partnering to expand our training opportunities,” Farias wrote in the email. “Additional training and education will be offered in an ongoing way, shepherded by the Title IX Education Committee.”

Furthermore, after taking into consideration recommendations from the Victims Rights Law Center (VRLC) and students, the University has decided to change the investigation and adjudication process for sexual assault cases.

“The in-person hearing panel has been replaced by a deliberation panel,” Farias wrote. “The complete process is found in the student handbook.”

Along with these new changes, the University has introduced Johanna DeBari as the new director for the new Office of Survivor Advocacy and Community Education.

“[DeBari] will develop programming around issues of sexual and gender-based misconduct, and will provide direct support to students who are impacted,” Farias wrote.

One of the last new implementations that Farias mentions is the Relationship Policy. This policy clearly explains to all members of the University community the kinds of relationships that are prohibited due to inherent problematic power dynamics.

The email update also touches upon the VRLC’s 2017 review of the University’s Title IX policies. In September, University President Michael Roth ’78 announced the administration’s aim to gather further information on the strengths and weaknesses of the University’s response to sexual assault.

“I’ll be working a lot with helping the administration implement suggestions from the VRLC report this year, so Wes can do better for survivors, and everyone on this campus,” Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Intern Rachele Merliss ’19 said in an Argus article from September.

Farias ended the Title IX update noting that the process of implementation and change is an ongoing one that needs continuous input from the community.

“I can’t emphasize enough how Title IX and VAWA are a community effort – 50 members from student/staff/faculty/coaches/Women & Families Center/Middletown Police have been active in a process of continuous improvement, coming on four years now,” Farias wrote in an email to The Argus. “While we are bound by state and federal laws and guidance, in the end, this is about our values and how we uphold our values.”

Camille De Beus can be reached at cdebeus@wesleyan.edu and on Twitter @cdebeus.

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