Title IX Coordinator Discusses How Proposed Education Dept. Reforms Could Impact UD

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Editor’s note: When this interview took place, these proposed rules were not officially released but rather leaked. There are differences between the two versions. 

Title IX Coordinator Amy Zavadil has asked Flyer News to add this note. 

“As of now, the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, Mandatory Reporting Policy and Resolution Process is unchanged. However, once the regulations become final, an educational institution must comply with them. 

The University is carefully reviewing the proposals, and preparing its own set of comments to submit before the January 28, 2019 deadline.

For more information on the proposed changes and how any member of the public may comment, visit the Equity Compliance Office online at https://udayton.edu/finadmin/divisions/equity_compliance/about/tips-for-comment.php.”

Isa Gonzalez  
Contributing Writer

The University of Dayton plans to maintain current protocol regarding sexual assault cases, despite the Department of Education’s proposal to lower legal standards for university sexual assault policies. The proposed guidance would reduce the minimum requirements for handling sexual assault cases at universities and exclude off-campus incidents from being investigated by the school.

For those who live in landlord housing, this proposal would suggest that by signing a lease students are giving up the school’s protection in cases of sexual assault. However, the Equity Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator, Amy Zavadil, said “Even students who live in landlord housing or near the campus footprint, their experience is often as if they are a residential student, so we would continue to maintain a policy that is appropriate for our community and the safety of our students.”

The proposed guidance also suggests mediation between the student who reported the incident and the student being accused. Zavadil said, “In terms of mediation at UD we talk about facilitated dialogue or other informal means of resolution when deemed appropriate.” However, she made it clear that the process focuses on the well-being of those involved by allowing students to decide if they wish to participate in a course of action such as mediation.

The proposed reforms also limit those who are required to report sexual misconduct, known as mandatory reporters. Under this guidance, residential advisers (RAs) would be specifically excluded. Nonetheless, RAs are considered mandatory reporters for sexual assault at UD and will continue to be despite implementation of new guidance.

When sexual assaults are reported to the Equity Compliance Office, Zavadil said, “We make sure the individual knows what their rights and resources are, so they can make informed decisions.” Elaborating on the process, she said, “We further assess if there is concern for others in the community, but it is essentially up to the reporting party on how or if they want to participate in an investigation process.”

The new proposal narrows the cases schools must investigate and gives the accused more rights, however, Zavadil said, “The intention of the proposed guidance is to set a minimum standard, but universities have the ability to go above what is required.” If the proposal passes, UD wants to maintain current policies despite the implementation of lower legal standards for sexual assault policies at universities. 

Sexual violence occurs too often on college campuses, and the Assistant Dean of Students, Kristen Keen said, “The University of Dayton takes this very seriously and is committed to supporting survivors and preventing future violence from occurring.” Although UD is committed to maintaining a high standard to respond to sexual violence cases, regrettably they still happen. However, Keen said, “If you have been assaulted, know that we are here to support you and you have options. We are committed to helping students experience healthy relationships and enjoy a safe and exciting college experience.”

UD is well known for its reputation of community, and President Spina said, “This is an important set of issues for UD and is critical for maintaining our sense of community and respect for each person within the community.” Despite the potential implementation of this proposal, UD officials say the university will follow federal regulations but also will carefully discern whether and how to go above compliance to keep members of our community safe.

 

UD students can find information on how to report sexual assaults here.