Chancellor Carol Folt of the University of North Carolina has just released the new policy on how the school will handle reports of sexual assault among students. I am proud to have served on the UNC Title IX Task Force that spent a year working on revisions to recommend to the Chancellor. We underwent a rigorous collaborative process bringing together a group of 22 people representing many different perspectives on UNC. I served as the representative of the larger Chapel Hill community. We had excellent leadership from our Task Force Chair and nationally recognized experts. I am very interested to see how the community responds, and I will be writing about what I learned on this Task Force.
Here is the initial news story from Jane Stancill of the Raleigh News & Observer. It will take some time to read the new policy in order to report on it in more detail:
By Jane Stancill
firstname.lastname@example.org August 28, 2014
CHAPEL HILL — UNC-Chapel Hill unveiled a new policy Thursday for dealing with rape and sexual misconduct involving students.
The revamped policy comes more than a year and a half after five women, including students, an alumna and a former administrator, filed federal complaints against the university for its handling and reporting of sexual assault. Those investigations are apparently still under way.
UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt said the policy, which takes effect Thursday, revises the procedures for investigation and adjudication of sexual violence and discrimination. She said the policy complies with federal regulations and is consistent with the recommendations of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
“The adoption of this policy is a vital step in taking a wide-ranging approach to ensuring a safe and welcoming campus,” Folt said in an email to the campus community.
UNC-CH’s policy comes as sexual violence has become a dominant issue in higher education nationwide. As of Thursday, 76 colleges and universities are being investigated by the federal government under the Title IX gender anti-discrimination law. The Obama administration has gotten involved, and a bill introduced in Congress would force new requirements and possible sanctions on universities that fail to comply with Title IX.
The UNC-CH women who filed the original complaint have become major players in the issue, helping to create a national network to organize students and coordinate advocacy.
Based on recommendations from a task force that studied the issue for more than a year, UNC-CH’s policy rewrite has been in the works for months. The group of 22 students, faculty, administrators, staff and community members met for more than a year to hash through the details of how the university should prevent and respond to sexual violence and harassment.
Nationally, universities have been criticized for being lax in dealing with sexual assault and minimizing reports to protect their images. A recent survey of 350 schools by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri found that 41 percent hadn’t conducted a single investigation of a sexual assault in the past five years.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/28/4103252/unc-chapel-hill-revamps-sexual.html?sp=/99/102/#storylink=cpy
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