Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,
As you may already be aware, the U.S. Department of Education recently issued new Title IX Regulations that colleges and universities must comply with by August 14, 2020. The Title IX Regulations require reports of power-based interpersonal violence (PBIV) such as relationship violence, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual or sex/gender-based harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, and related retaliation that meet Title IX-Regulated definitions to be addressed in a specific manner for all students, staff, faculty, and affiliated third parties.
Emerson, along with all colleges and universities that receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education, including financial aid on behalf of students, are required to comply with the new Title IX Regulations. Although the Title IX Regulations address a narrower set of prohibited conduct than in the past, the College continues to prohibit all forms of PBIV. The Social Justice Center; Access, Equity & Title IX; and the Healing & Advocacy Collective work to foster a community free of violence, support those harmed by PBIV, and provide fair, trauma-informed resolution processes for all community members.
In order to meet compliance with the U.S. Department of Education Title IX Regulations, Pam White, Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, and I convened a Steering Committee and Sub-Committee to assist in the development of a new Power-Based Interpersonal Violence (PBIV) Policy. The two committees consisted of more than 45 members, including students, staff, and faculty, with additional union representation. The committees met throughout the summer, providing critical input and perspective, which informed the development of the College’s new Power-Based Interpersonal Violence (PBIV) Policy, which is effective August 14, 2020.
The staff of the Healing & Advocacy Collective provided valuable guidance regarding trauma-informed practices and significant support related to evidence-based primary prevention strategies. I am deeply thankful to the committee members who worked diligently on the development of this policy. I would like to extend special thanks and appreciation to Pam White, Ryan Milligan, Melanie Matson, Greta Spoering, and Alayne Fiore for their extraordinary work on behalf of the Emerson Community.
In addition to developing the new PBIV Policy in compliance with the new Title IX Regulations, we sought to do the following:
- Increase the readability of the policy,
- Enhance the visibility and availability of Informal Resolution Processes,
- Define frequently used policy terms, and
- Delineate Formal Resolution Processes related to College-Regulated as well as Title IX-Regulated prohibited conduct.
The new PBIV Policy will be supplemented by visual aids; process guides; resource materials regarding PBIV; mandatory primary prevention and PBIV policy workshops for all incoming undergraduate, transfer, and graduate students; as well as a new set of workshops and trainings for staff and faculty, with specific required training for those involved in the implementation of the PBIV Policy.
Through coordinated prevention education, clear and effective policies, and investigative and resolution processes that are prompt, equitable, and accessible, we can collectively create a positive and supportive campus environment for all members of our community.
Sylvia C. Spears, Ph.D.
Vice President for Equity & Social Justice