President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Updates to our Title IX processes

August 14, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

I write to announce several changes that the college has made to bring us into compliance with the Title IX regulations that were issued by the Department of Education (DOE) under Betsy DeVos earlier this year. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and provides prohibitions against sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in higher education. The new regulations set forth by the DOE provide specific actions that the college must take in response to these types of incidents.

When these new regulations were issued in May, the college convened a Title IX working group of students, faculty, and staff. This working group met weekly over the summer and developed a new Title IX policy as well as Title IX grievance procedures for students, faculty, and staff.

I ask that all of us review the new Title IX policy and grievance procedures carefully. While there are many important points to consider, I draw your attention to the following:

  • The college's commitment to preventing and addressing instances of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and dating violence has not changed. Our Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (DHSM) policy is in place and accounts for the new Title IX regulations.
  • All community members are encouraged to report instances of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and dating violence so that the college may address these swiftly and in a fair manner.
  • The list of who is obligated to report instances of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and dating violence has changed. Starting today, the following community members are obligated to make Title IX reports when they believe a violation of the DHSM or Title IX policy has taken place: staff and faculty who supervise the work of another staff member, faculty member, or student worker; community safety staff; Judicial Board members; and members of the board of trustees. Notably, faculty who are not supervisors are no longer obligated reporters.
  • A person who has made a report of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or dating violence has the option to designate their report as a formal Title IX complaint. Should the report be designated as a formal Title IX complaint, the college is obligated to respond by following the Title IX grievance resolution process that is appropriate for students, faculty, or staff. These Title IX grievance processes are quite different from the adjudication processes that have been in effect until now, so I encourage you to review them carefully.

As you may know, new policies are to be developed as community legislation, within the legislative process set forth in our community constitution. However, due to the short amount of time that was allotted for institutions to come into compliance, and due to the timing of the announcement, which required changes to be made over the summer when the college is not in session, it was necessary to develop our Title IX policy under special authority granted in the community constitution. I can assure you that there will be ample opportunity to provide feedback. Community members will be invited to respond to a survey, participate in a listening session (to be announced), and send feedback directly to Christopher Toutain, Title IX/504 coordinator.

Please join me in thanking the Title IX working group for their thoughtful, thorough, and rapid work over the last few months to respond to the new Title IX regulations:

  • Santi Alston, Title IX working group co-chair and former Title IX coordinator
  • Cindy Anderson, Title IX working group co-chair and interim dean of students
  • Rowan Frost, program director, healthy relationships
  • Gary Granger, director of community safety
  • Kiki Hawley ’16, student engagement assistant and former SHARE advocate
  • Tania Jaramillo ’21, Judicial Board co-chair
  • Bill Jenkins, human resources consultant
  • Keith Karoly, Judicial Board adviser and Laurens N. Ruben Professor of Biology
  • Nigel Nicholson, Walter Mintz Professor of Classics and former dean of the faculty
  • Michelle Rogers, Title IX investigator
  • Charlotte Thompson ’22, student senator
  • Chris Toutain, Title IX/504 coordinator
  • Michelle Valintis, director of human resources
  • Kelsey Wirtzfield, student life systems coordinator
  • Dylan Wong ’21, Judicial Board co-chair

I also wish to thank Dean of the Faculty Kathy Oleson and the Committee on Advancement and Tenure (CAT), who met many times over the summer to review and approve the revised grievance process for faculty.

Preventing and addressing instances of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and dating violence at Reed is a shared responsibility. Thank you for doing your part and for carefully considering the college's new Title IX policy.

All my best,

Audrey

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Audrey Bilger
President