Donato's response to the Clara Ell story

By Malika Andrews | December 1, 2016 5:32pm

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Vice President for Student Affairs, John Donato emailed The Beacon the following statement in response to The Beacon's inquiries about the Clara Ell case:

The University takes allegations of sexual violence very seriously. Title IX provides directives and guidelines for campus communities about this important work of ending violence when we become aware of it, eradicating the hostile environment it creates, stopping its recurrence, and working to remedy its effects. The University has a conduct process in place to promptly address and to thoroughly investigate allegations of interpersonal violence in violation of UP policy, and that process is outlined in the student handbook, Life on the Bluff. The University endeavors to complete investigations of interpersonal violence within sixty days of receiving a report. That sixty-day timeline complies with Title IX guidance and allows a full investigation of each allegation.

University employees who are involved in Title IX cases, including investigators and members of hearing panels, participate in training. Although formal rules of process, procedure, or rules of evidence such as those applied in criminal or civil courts are not used in the student conduct process, both the reporting party and responding party receive equivalent notice of process and have the option to bring a support person to the hearing, to identify witnesses, and to present relevant evidence. The hearing officers make a decision based on the “preponderance of evidence” standard; that is, whether it is “more likely than not” that there was a violation of University policy.

Students who are found responsible for violating University policy regarding interpersonal violence are subject to disciplinary sanctions. I am not able to share the results of student conduct hearings with you due to confidentiality concerns for the parties involved, but both the reporting party and the responding party receive notice of the outcome of each case in accordance with federal law and University policy.

Although not required by Title IX, the University provides both parties with the opportunity to appeal the outcome of a student conduct case. Case reviews are based the following two criteria: (1) The procedures outlined in Life on the Bluff were not followed during the student's original hearing, or (2) New and significant evidence is available which was unknown and could not have been known at the time of the hearing.

As Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Lauretta Frederking is an available resource to any student, faculty, or staff member within the community who makes a report of sexual assault, harassment, or any other form of interpersonal violence. Dr. Frederking has met personally with faculty to reinforce the importance of reporting and guiding students to confidential and non-confidential resources on campus. She has also met with athletic teams and coaches to discuss Title IX issues. If you or any student has any question or concern regarding Title IX or the Title IX process at UP, I encourage you to take advantage of this resource and reach out to Dr. Frederking. She can be reached at frederki@up.edu or (503) 943-8076.

Please know that we strive to promote a safe campus for our students. The work of Title IX is an ongoing priority of this University, and one that we will continue to address in a proactive manner.

Contact editor-in-chief Malika Andrews at andrewsm17@up.edu or Twitter @malika_andrews.
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