IOWA BOARD OF REGENTS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT GUIDING PRINCIPLES
These Guidelines were developed by the law firm of Schuster and Clifford working in conjunction with staff from the Center for Violence Prevention and the Iowa State Board of Regents. Support for the policy review was provided by Grant No. 2007-WA-AX-005 awarded to UNI by the Violence Against Women Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice and by the Iowa State Board of Regents.
Policy Compliance Elements:
Creation of a proactive sexual misconduct policy requires the following policy elements to be addressed.
- Policy statements must begin with an institutional statement of mission and values. The statement of intent must include institution's position regarding all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, and sexual assault
- Establish physical jurisdictional limits for policy
- Identify specifically to whom the policy applies; student policies should be distinct from employee policies.
- Provide coordinated victim services utilizing campus and/or community-based resources, which address reporting options for victims, including reporting to law enforcement, initiating civil action as well as providing physical and emotional support Include statement of victim's rights: Victims Rights must include:
- Information on reporting to law enforcement that clearly informs the victim of this option
- An opportunity to participate in campus discipline hearings
- The right to be accompanied by an advisor during the investigation and hearing
- The right to provide a victim's impact statement if accused is found in violation
- The right to know the outcome of the hearing, including determination and sanction imposed
- Policy must clearly identify the intersection of sexual misconduct policies with other policies such as drug & alcohol, hazing.
- Clearly articulate prohibited conduct and include unambiguous definitions of behaviors
- Provide a timeline for reporting incidents of sexual misconduct
- Designate a primary institutional employee or an office to coordinate all sexual misconduct includes specific contact information.
- Insure staff are properly trained on Title IX Regulations where the student is the complainant
- Provide a detailed explanation of university Sexual Misconduct Policy procedures, investigation processes, reporting requirements and a time frame for the investigation process
- Identify and articulate the adjudication process, including time frames and the manner in which the hearing is to be conducted
- Provide clear statement regarding confidentiality and limits on sharing and release of information
General Considerations for Policy Development:
- Policies must withstand legal scrutiny by reflecting unambiguous language and procedures
- Avoid demonizing the accused
- Provide appropriate due process
- Insure a fair and ethical process
- Recognize that confidentiality is a balancing act with the victim's interests, the rights of the accused, and legal parameters
- Sexual harassment and sexual assault should be addressed in separate sections:
- Provide details of what the offense means, not just a list of prohibited behaviors, but meaning, content and context; avoid speech codes to reduce risk for sexual misconduct liability
- Definitions of prohibited conduct must provide students sufficient notice of behavioral expectations so that they may conform their conduct accordingly, and clearly recognize when behavior crossed the acceptable line
- Title IX requires a prompt and equitable response even if the complainant does not want to take further action. The university is required to respond to the extent possible to all reports of sexual misconduct. There must be a balance among the evidence, the legal requirements and college policy in order to determine the proper equitable response
- Provide, within the policy delegations of authority for reporting, investigating and correcting sexual misconduct of students and insure those delegations are sufficiently articulated
- Consider creating a response team to oversee and evaluate certain types of complaints and make recommendations while the criminal and discipline process is ongoing
- Clearly articulate institutional policy regarding timing and protocol related to simultaneous criminal proceedings and discipline proceedings
- Insure all staff are trained about sexual misconduct reporting, responding, investigation and adjudication and the implementation of university policy and procedures