SOURCE: LockPath, Inc.

LockPath, Inc.

July 22, 2015 00:00 ET

Updating University Sexual Misconduct Policies to Comply With Title IX

OVERLAND PARK, KS--(Marketwired - July 22, 2015) - In the midst of the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigations of how sexual misconduct has been handled at more than 100 American universities, Title IX has been in the limelight.

Commonly known for its regulation of equal opportunity in athletics, Title IX also prohibits sexual discrimination on campus -- including sexual harassment, sexual battery and sexual assault.

According to the Department of Education, "anyone who believes there has been an act of discrimination on the basis of sex" can file a Title IX complaint with OCR. Examples of past Title IX violations range from failure to provide an equitable response to sexual misconduct complaints to failure to provide a prompt investigation. As OCR investigations made the news, student advocacy groups took up the issue on campuses across the nation.

Throughout 2014, student protests and demonstrations increased as OCR investigations increased. One example is the Columbia University student who carried her mattress around campus to protest her alleged rapist remaining a student there. Such demonstrations and attention put pressure on school officials across the country to review their sexual misconduct policies and procedures.

Now in 2015, how do you keep your students safe, stay out of the news and avoid a lengthy federal investigation? As part of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, created a checklist for campus sexual misconduct policies. The highlights:

1. Develop a clear and comprehensive sexual misconduct policy

  • Include all stakeholders (students, campus security, law enforcement, school officials, legal counsel, etc.) in the drafting of your policy.
  • Review all applicable laws and existing university policies:
    • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
    • Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
    • Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act
    • Any applicable state and local laws
    • University codes of conduct and nondiscrimination policies
  • Identify your target audience and keep it in mind while drafting the policy.
  • Use clear and specific language in your policy.

2. Implement, publicize, evaluate, and update your policy

  • Upon implementation, ensure that stakeholders are aware of the updates to the policy.
  • Put in place workflows to review and update the policy on an annual or semi-annual basis.
  • Train and test your officials for awareness and comprehension of the policy.
    • Send the policy out to your relevant faculty and staff members (such as your Title IX Coordinator) for awareness.
    • Use an assessment to ensure that your employees have read and comprehend the policy.

3. Investigate sexual misconduct incidents immediately

  • Prioritize sexual misconduct incidents to have an immediate response time, as the OCR expects investigations to take about 60 days.

4. Foster a culture of awareness of sexual discrimination

  • Ultimately, the ideal situation is to reduce the number of sexual misconduct incidents from occurring through prevention training and awareness. Compliance solutions like LockPath's Keylight can help with such training, documentation and investigation.

In an ideal world, taking all the necessary steps would prevent sexual misconduct from happening. Complying with Title IX is an important part of minimizing the incidence of sexual misconduct on campuses. Therefore, universities must put in place robust sexual misconduct training and incident response plans.

About LockPath
LockPath is a market leader in corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance (GRC) and information security (InfoSec) software. The company's flexible, scalable and fully integrated suite of applications is used by organizations to automate business processes, reduce enterprise risk and demonstrate regulatory compliance to achieve audit-ready status. LockPath serves a client base of global organizations ranging from small and midsize companies to Fortune 10 enterprises in more than 15 industries. The company is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.

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