First report of the Voluntary Resolution Agreement due May 1
When the university entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement (VRA) with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) over handling of cases of sexual harassment and assault and preventative efforts by our universities, a plan for the nine action items with a May 1 deadline was established, as well as planning for the future deadlines out to December 2019.
The first reporting deadline May 1 covers a variety of areas including the appointment of a systemwide Senior Title IX administrator, a new draft notice of non-discrimination, draft policy and regulation changes, Title IX training, dissemination of information regarding sex discrimination, a plan for climate checks, coordination with local law enforcement, new procedures for placement of students with other entities, and documentation of redress for 23 cases identified by OCR.
Systemwide Senior Title IX Administrator - Mary Gower is the Chief Title IX Officer, reporting directly to the president. As Chief Title IX Officer, Gower has primary responsibility for coordinating the university's efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in all operations of the university and retaliation against those who report violations of any right or privilege secured by Title IX.
Notice of Nondiscrimination – Once the university receives notice that the proposed new notice of nondiscrimination has been approved by OCR a 30-day deadline will begin for documenting that the new notice has been included on all websites and university publications. Inserts can be used pending reprinting of publications. All university employees and departments are asked to assist in ensuring that all websites and publications are updated accordingly and documentation shared with Title IX offices.
Revised Title IX Policies & Procedures - In order to have the new policies in place for the start of the fall semester, revised language will be proposed to the Regents at the June meeting. Governance groups and university administration are currently reviewing and providing feedback on the draft policies.
Title IX Training - All employees involved in processing, investigating, adjudicating and or resolving complaints of sex discrimination are attending required training that will be provided through ATIXA to meet conditions specified in the VRA.
Dissemination of information regarding sex discrimination - UAF is drafting a pamphlet on behalf of the system, which will be updated for each campus as necessary. It will be distributed to students and employees for general Title IX education purposes, and contains information on how and where to file a complaint, contact information for Title IX and information on interim measures and opportunities for counseling and assistance.
Climate Survey - The VRA requires that we complete climate surveys through 2019. The first survey is anticipated to go into the field this October; work is in progress to facilitate that timeline.
Coordination with local law enforcement - For the May 1 reporting deadline, Title IX offices have communicated with law enforcement departments across the state informing them of new requirements for improved coordination between law enforcement and addressing protocols for referring allegations of sexual violence as well as sharing information and conducting contemporaneous investigations.
New procedures for placement of students with other entities - New procedures are being prepared for student placement with other entities for internships, clinical programs or other off-campus programs providing information on where and how to file a complaint and ensuring that any sponsors or operators understand Title IX obligations.
Redress for 23 cases identified by OCR - Each of the 23 cases has specific actions that must be undertaken by the May 1 deadline to redress the cases. The cases will have been re-assessed and actions taken accordingly by the reporting deadline.