Wednesday, April 25, 2012

OCR letter engenders changes

Inside Higher Ed has a piece about the changes that have occurred within the judicial bodies at various institutions in the wake of OCR's 2011 Dear Colleague Letter reminding schools of their need for Title IX compliance in regards to sexual assault and harassment.
The article specifically focuses on the honor court at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) which recently decided to remove sexual assault cases from their docket. Those on the honor court, comprised entirely of students, could have been trained to specifically to handle sexual assault cases and remain in compliance with Title IX, but they opted to develop a new system for students seeking redress after alleged sexual assaults. Those involved hope that a new system will better serve the needs of victims, noting that the current honor court is likely seen as discouraging victims from coming forward.
The article also notes other schools that have adjusted their judicial boards, some of which contain faculty and staff members in addition to students. The goal, of course, is to develop a system from addressing claims of sexual assault that takes into consideration the climate and history of the institution as well as the needs of the parties involved.