Office of Civil Rights Title IX Review
OCR Findings Letter
On Feb. 21, 2017 President Johnsen received the findings letter from the Office of Civil Rights advising the university of the resolution of the compliance review of the system. A letter summarizing the OCR findings can be downloaded HERE.
Voluntary Resolution Agreement with the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
The University of Alaska has entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. This agreement results from OCR’s review of the university’s handling of sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents affecting students and employees on UA campuses. This agreement details a wide array of compliance issues, including 23 cases that exemplify problems across the system ranging from very serious failures to documentation issues, and it outlines specific steps we will take to improve safety and the campus climate throughout the University of Alaska system.
OCR Compliance Review
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced it would audit certain colleges around the country as a result of incidents and treatment of gender equality and sexual violence on American campuses. Shortly thereafter, the Office of Civil Rights announced it would conduct additional Title IX compliance reviews to ensure that other campus systems were appropriately handling issues of complaints and reports of sexual harassment, including sexual assault. The UA System was one of those additional universities selected for a compliance review.
The UA System welcomes this review. The safety of our employees and students is a priority. We look forward to continuing our work strengthening awareness, educational campaigns, services, policies and procedures.
Then & Now and OCR Timeline PDF
THEN(2011 post “Dear Colleague” Letter)
|No Tracking of OCR compliance requirements||Quarterly Title IX Scorecard created to track campus progress /SW Chief Title IX Officer appointed|
|No MOUs with law enforcement agencies||MOU in Fairbanks, Juneau, Alaska State Troopers, and other municipalities’ police.|
|No dedicated full-time Title IX coordinators at each university.||One Title IX coordinator at each university|
|Case files kept on paper only/no tracking system /campus leaders often not notified||Maxient Software program in place at UAF; UAA and UAS systems to be implemented Spring 2017. Software program immediately notifies campuses when a report of assault is received – all case data and updates tracked.|
|Minimal Board of Regents involvement||Regents established a Title IX subcommittee, held field hearings at main and rural campuses, hears updates at every board meeting and reviews quarterly Title IX scorecards.|
|No structure for student advocates on campuses||Advocates at all campuses under contract with STAR or AWARE.|
|No established training for students / staff||Bystander and mandatory Haven training established on campuses|
|Internal climate survey done in 2015||Climate survey to commence in 2017-2018 and done annually.|
|Inadequate / inconsistent interim measures imposed or lack of due process followed||Process in place for investigating sexual assault cases. Interim measures are imposed as a case warrants and as appropriate. Due process afforded to all parties.|
|No suspensions or expulsions for major violations at UAF||Flaws in UAF process was publicly disclosed in October 2015 and since then, major sanctions have been imposed in both those older cases and multiple subsequent cases. Suspensions, expulsions, and degree revocations levied.|
|Few incidents of sexual misconduct reported (274 in four years)||Steep increase in the number of sexual misconduct reports at the three universities. (328 in 19 months)|
|Informal, decentralized process||Formalized processes with centralized communication and tracking|
News and Announcements on OCR review and Title IX
Title IX Training at the University of Alaska
First report of the Voluntary Resolution Agreement due May 1
University moving forward on terms of Voluntary Resolution Agreement
President Johnsen's Message to the UA Community on Voluntary Resolution Agreement PDF
Message from President Johnsen on Title IX External Review
University Concludes First Climate Survey
University to officially designate staff and faculty as responsible employees
Campus Title IX Climate Survey Update
New Agreement Strengthens Sexual Assault Prevention and Victims’ Services
Campus Sexual Violence a National Discussion
Title IX mandatory training: Why here, why now?