September 19, 2020

Title IX coordinator informs of policies

The prohibition of sexual discrimination and misconduct. These are some of the elements of Title IX.

Title IX is a law that states that no one shall experience discrimination on the basis of sex under any educational program or institution that receives federal aid.

Capital is required to uphold this law, and the university provides certain resources and services that not only tend to those involved in Title IX violations, but also help prevent these cases from happening in the first place. 

“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so we have programming throughtout the entire month,” Jennifer Speakman, Title IX coordinator, said.

Jennifer Speakman, Title IX coordinator. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Speakman.

Besides being a lead coordinator for Title IX on campus, Speakman also coordinates services for students who have documented disabilities.

“Essentially, we’re here to ensure a safe and inclusive environment,” she said.

Upon receiving a complaint, the university is to immediately launch an initial investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that Title IX has been violated. If so, Capital will move forward with an impartial investigation.

This investigation would be conducted by two trained staff members, each one following up on separate sides of the story, in hopes of providing a fair and reliable determination about whether there has been a legitimate violation. 

Ultimately, if there has been a violation, the university will provide a prompt solution to cease the misconduct and stop it from occurring again. Solutions range from academic accommodations to medical or mental health services.

One example of a solution provided by the Title IX team would be a no contact order, which prevents contact between the two parties.

Another solution is the separation of residence. If two parties are living in the same residence hall, then steps can be taken to remove one of the parties from that hall to further reduce any contact.

Before a final determination is reached on a case, the parties involved have an opportunity to resolve the issue through an informal resolution process. 

Both sides must agree to it and the Title IX coordinator has to determine if it’s a suitable option.

An informal resolution is not available for cases that involve blatant sexual assault.

There are two reporting routes open to students, which are “confidential” and “non-confidential.”

A report is considered non-confidential if a student talks about a Title IX violation with a standard campus employee, such as a history professor.

As an employee of the university, they are required to report the incident to the respective department. These are known as mandated reporters.

Everyone at the university is a mandated reporter, with the exceptions of the Title IX counselors and Pastor Drew — these people are able to hold someone’s sensitive information.

The university has a non-retaliation policy for people who report Title IX crimes. Retaliation in any form toward reporters is supposed to be addressed immediately by the university. 

Students should also know that seeking help through Title IX is different than seeking help through traditional law enforcement.

“Our process is completely separate from the law enforcement process, so students can be simultaneously going through a law enforcement report and investigation while also engaging in Title IX investigation process,” Speakman said.

In May 2016, Capital gave out its first campus climate survey to students. This survey gathers data about how students are perceiving the living and learning environment. 

The questions on the survey are provided by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), which according to Speakman, identified Capital as achieving all the hallmarks of the ODHE’s Changing Campus Culture initiative.

These initiatives include: (1) Use data to guide action. (2) Empower staff, faculty, campus law enforcement and students to prevent and re­spond to sexual violence through evidence-based training. (3) Communicate a culture of shared respect and responsibility. (4) Develop a comprehensive response policy. (5) Adopt a survivor-centered response.

The university gives out the survey annually and some of that anonymous data is used to help form strategies to prevent and raise awareness against Title IX violations.

One plan of action was that the university partnered with the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) to make victim advocates available, assist in the training of peer educators, and to expand bystander intervention training efforts.

This type of programming has been implemented into Capital’s orientation for incoming classes of students.

Capital has hosted the Association of Title IX Administrators (atIXa), a professional association that provides training on best practices related to sex or gender-based issues.

In terms of getting specific numbers that relate to Title IX, students are able to acess our campus’ clery report online, which provides statistical data on various crimes on campus, such as rape, fondling, and dating violence.

Simply go to a search engine of your choice and type in “Capital University clery report.” It should be the first result.

The reports are given out annually and the fall 2019 edition was just released. 

“We want our students to feel safe and comfortable and be informed, so that’s why we issue our clery report every year,” Speakman said.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding Title IX, contact Jennifer Speakman at jspeakman@capital.edu.

  • Robert Cumberlander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Chimes and a junior at Capital University, majoring in Film and Media Production with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

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