Betsy Facher Rauch began working in her new role as Emerson College’s first full-time Title IX coordinator on an interim basis this month as the search continues for someone to fill the position permanently.
The move comes as the College strengthens its resolve to adopt evolving best practices for preventing and addressing incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.
Emerson has had a Title IX coordinator since 2011, but not one working in a full-time capacity until Facher Rauch began her new role on March 1.
“Making the Title IX coordinator position full time is an important step for the College,” Facher Rauch said. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, and staff on fostering an environment where everyone is treated with respect and compassion.”
Title IX is a section of a 1972 federal law that prohibits any educational institution that receives federal funds from discriminating against anyone based on gender.
In an email to the community last month, Sylvia Spears, vice president for diversity and inclusion, said she and President Lee Pelton asked Facher Rauch to fill the position full time “to advance the College’s goal of having a full-time [Associate Vice President and] Title IX coordinator in place as soon as possible.”
Alexa Jackson, chief human resource officer, worked as the College’s Title IX coordinator since 2011 in addition to her role of overseeing the Office of Human Resources.
“It was a rewarding and eye-opening experience,” Jackson said. “The principles of Title IX are consistent with my own personal values of equity and mutual respect. I was happy to step in temporarily to be a part of the solution.”
Jackson continued: “I’m very appreciative that the College leadership understands the significance of the Title IX coordinator’s responsibilities and has committed to making this a full-time position. I am also very thankful to Betsy for stepping into the interim role to support the transition of the position to full time. This has also allowed me to return my attention to my primary responsibility, which is to oversee the Office of Human Resources.”
Facher Rauch has worked at Emerson for 10 years as associate general counsel. She will no longer work as legal counsel to the College while she is working as interim Title IX coordinator and associate vice president.
“Betsy brings a deep understanding of Emerson policies and practices, including Emerson’s new Sexual Misconduct Policy,” Spears said. “She is knowledgeable about the College’s legal obligations under the Clery Act, Title IX, FERPA, and other laws related to her position. We are grateful that she has agreed to step away from her work in the Office of General Counsel to perform this important service to the College.”
What does the Title IX coordinator do?
Facher Rauch: The Title IX coordinator is a leader in the College’s efforts to promote a campus climate in which all members of the Emerson community (students, faculty, staff, and guests) can safely study, work, and visit free from the harm of sexual misconduct, which is defined by Emerson’s Sexual Misconduct Policy to include rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and other forms of power–based interpersonal violence.
The Title IX coordinator is a central resource for members of the community who may have questions or concerns about the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy or Title IX and related laws. I encourage anyone with such questions to contact me at 617-824-8999 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, when community members have been impacted by sexual misconduct, the Title IX coordinator can provide them with informaton about their rights and available resources as well as residential and academic accommodations and/or stay-away or no-contact orders.
Anyone, including non-Emersonians, can file a report with me if they believe a member of the Emerson community has violated our Sexual Misconduct Policy. I am happy to answer questions about the policy and complaint process from any individual with an interest in our process.
The Title IX coordinator, after receiving a report of sexual misconduct, is responsible for deciding if the College should investigate the report, and then oversees any investigations that are initiated to ensure they are conducted in a fair and timely manner. In deciding what, if any, actions to take in response to a report of sexual misconduct, the Title IX coordinator evaluates and considers the nature and severity of the allegations, the wishes of the person or people who were reported to have been harmed, and the overall community’s safety.
Can you tell us about your professional background?
Facher Rauch: Since 2004, I’ve worked in Emerson’s Office of the General Counsel, where I oversaw litigation and employment law; led nondiscrimination and anti-harassment trainings for many College departments; and became familiar with legal issues that apply to higher education, such as FERPA and Title IX. Before Emerson, I worked as a staff attorney for the Boston Police Department, which included defending the department’s policies in court and before government agencies. I have also worked as a prosecutor and a litigator at a law firm. My first job after graduating from Stanford Law School was working as a law clerk for a federal district court judge. In recent months, I worked with Vice President Spears on the development of the College’s new Sexual Misconduct Policy, helped develop recent changes to the student disciplinary process related to cases involving sexual misconduct, and served as an active member of the team of Emerson staff working to implement best practices at Emerson.
How will you accommodate students or employees who approach you with gender discrimination issues?
Facher Rauch: The Title IX coordinator can accommodate community members who have been impacted by sexual misconduct in a number of ways. Accommodations can include altering a student’s class schedule or residence assigment, or changing an employee’s work hours or location. In addition, the Title IX coordinator has the ability to issue no-contact orders to community members if the coordinator believes that doing so will enhance the safety of any community member(s). Finally, if a member of the Emerson community is threatened by or has been harmed by someone who does not have any right to be on Emerson’s campus, the Title IX coordinator can work with the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) to issue a no-trespass order barring that person from Emerson property. Such efforts will be done in as private a manner as possible and do not require the person who was impacted by sexual misconduct to file a complaint with the ECPD or participate in either a criminal or College investigation.
How does the Title IX coordinator educate the community?
Facher Rauch: The Title IX coordinator is a central resource for anyone inside or outside the Emerson community who may have questions about Emerson’s Sexual Misconduct Policy or the College’s process for investigating complaints. If someone is unsure whether a situation is a matter that should be reported to Title IX, they should contact the Title IX coordinator and discuss the situation, if they feel comfortable doing so.
In addition to serving as a direct resource for people with questions or concerns, as interim Title IX coordinator I also work with other College departments such as Violence Prevention and Response and ECPD to provide education and training about how to respond to reports of sexual misconduct in a supportive and trauma-informed fashion, and how to connect people impacted by sexual misconduct with information about resources and reporting options, both on or off campus.
I’m glad to now have the opportunity as interim Title IX coordinator to work with administrators, faculty, staff, and students—some of whom I’ve worked with closely in the past, and others whom I don’t yet know—to help Emerson continue to identify and adopt best practices for preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.
How will you share information with the Emerson College Police Department?
Facher Rauch: Since the Title IX coordinator is charged with tracking all incidents of sexual misconduct reported to non-confidential College employees, and assessing what if any actions Emerson must take to ensure community safety, ECPD promptly shares with the Title IX coordinator any information and reports that ECPD receives concerning sexual misconduct. However, the College’s Title IX coordinator does not generally inform ECPD about information the Title IX coordinator receives from sources other than ECPD, since individuals impacted by sexual violence have the right to decide if they want to report a matter to law enforcement. An exception to this general rule is that when the Title IX coordinator needs ECPD’s assistance to enforce a no-contact order or no-trespass order, the Title IX coordinator will share with ECPD the information that ECPD needs to enforce the order.
The Title IX coordinator also provides ECPD with statistical information about incidents of sexual misconduct reported to the Title IX coordinator by departments or persons other than ECPD so that ECPD can comply with the College’s legal obligation to publish an Annual Security Report (Clery Report) that includes statistics about certain categories of crimes that occur on campus or in connection with College programs. Statistical information provided by the Title IX coordinator to ECPD for Clery compliance purposes does not identify the parties involved in any incident.
What is the most important thing Emersonians should know?
Facher Rauch: Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and anyone associated with Emerson College should know that we have a wealth of resources to help members of our community affected by sexual assault, sexual harrassment, relationship violence, and stalking. Establishing Emerson’s Violence Prevention and Response (VPR) has been an important step for the College and has already helped a sizeable number of people. Emersonians can come to me, VPR, the Emerson College Police Department, Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS), or Residence Life staff to get the support they need.