|Actions: ||The EDI Committee began reviewing the charge during the fall 2020 semester. The committee reviewed the charge elements, the current interim University policy and the proposed revisions from the Title IX Working Group, and the University System of Maryland (USM) Policy on Sexual Harassment (VI-1.60). The committee also reviewed background information on the Title IX regulations provided by the DOE and several value and mission statements of the University. |
The committee consulted with its ex-officio representative from the OCRSM, who serves as the University’s Title IX Officer, and a representative from the Office of General Counsel to learn more about the development of the interim Policy and the legal framework associated with its development. The committee also considered feedback on the interim Policy and its impact on the campus community from key stakeholders represented by University Human Resources (UHR), the Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA), the Office of Student Conduct (OSC), and several stakeholder groups including CARE to Stop Violence (CARE), the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (SAPC), the Graduate Student Government (GSG), Preventing Sexual Assault (PSA), and the Student Government Association (SGA) Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee (SMP).
During its review, a major focus of the committee was considering the accessibility and understanding of the Policy for all campus community members. The committee determined that the Policy generally aligns with the mission and values of the University. This determination was based on the Policy including provisions that are beyond the scope of the federal regulations and provide
enhanced protections and considerations for campus constituents.
A significant and consistent concern discussed by the committee and shared in the feedback that it received is that the formality and legal nature of the Policy language required by the federal regulations are intimidating and have the potential to deter community members from reporting alleged incidents of Prohibited Conduct. The committee recommended adding an Introduction to the
Policy and revising the Purpose provision to reinforce that one of the intentions of the Policy is to protect access to education in addition to maintaining a safe and secure environment.
The committee also recommended revisions to the Reporting and Rights of Parties sections to further demonstrate that the University’s first priority of responding to a report is to address the safety and well-being of the affected individuals. Related to Reporting, the committee recommended including graduate assistants among the list of Responsible University Employees (RUE) who are not confidential resources and who have an obligation to report to OCRSM when they become aware of incidents that may violate the Policy.
The committee considered all of the feedback and consultation discussions during its review of the interim Policy and the charge elements. After due consideration, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee approved the proposed revisions to the interim Policy on Sexual Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct in an email vote concluding on April 26, 2021.