Full-time Title IX position coming soon, Poorman says

By Rachel Ramirez and Olivia Sanchez | January 30, 2018 10:28pm

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

The University of Portland Title IX review committee has provided over 20 recommendations based on feedback given by students, faculty and staff, in regards to sexual assault guidelines. These recommendations include the expansion of campus-wide training as well as a review of the words consent, intoxication and incapacitation as pertaining to sexual assault and harassment. 

President Fr. Mark Poorman sent out a 37-page report and executive summary produced by the committee — which he appointed on Nov. 1, 2016 — on Monday via email. Among the many recommendations included in the report were more extensive training for faculty and staff on Title IX related issues, specifically faculty, Public Safety officers and Residence Life, and more gender diversity on the Title IX team, which has been described, according to the report, as “male dominated” by some members of faculty and staff.

Immediate changes include a new policy which requires the permanent team dismissal of any student athlete found to be in violation of the interpersonal violence policy. Here are four other changes that Poorman said are set to be implemented this semester:

  • A refined focus on all Title IX education and outreach under the Title IX coordinator
  • The creation of a full-time Title IX education and outreach position. This employee will report to Title IX Coordinator Lauretta Frederking
  • Partnerships with the Associate Student of the University of Portland (ASUP), Student Against Sexual Assault (SASA) and the Title IX coordinator to improve Title IX policies and resources on campus
  • An annual Sexual Assault Awareness Week on campus

The report — which was originally set to be made public last March, five months after Poorman formed the committee — included a detailed summary of policy changes and improvements, community feedback, recommendations and data collected from one-on-one interviews, an anonymous questionnaire, a campus-wide survey, student conduct hearings and listening sessions held in the past year.

The summary recommended fundamental changes in Title IX investigations and hearings, with an emphasis on better communication about how the Title IX hearing process works, possibly separating Title IX hearings and the Student Conduct Office from Residence Life, and moving towards a team of Title IX deputies to review cases instead of one person per case.

Despite pending Title IX rollbacks announced by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in September, UP still functions according to Obama-era “Dear Colleague” guidelines, according to Poorman.

“We will continue to develop more prevention trainings for our students,” Poorman said in the email. “We will continue to provide additional resources to support the Title IX team, and we must continue to evaluate rigorously the culture and climate on our campus through statistics and reports.”