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                                                                                                                     August 14, 2020

 

Dear Santa Clara University Community,

We write to follow up on the letter sent in May by President O’Brien and Belinda Guthrie, Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator, in regards to SCU’s Title IX policy. The  U.S. Department of Education (DOE), issued new Title IX Regulations mandating how campuses must investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct cases under Title IX. As a result, all colleges and universities must comply by August 14 or risk losing federal funds. We have implemented an Interim Policy on Nondiscrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in time to meet that deadline.  

SCU’s new policy was developed with input from Equal Opportunity and Title IX, General Counsel’s office, and faculty, staff, and student members of the Policy 311 Task Force, chaired by Professor Laura Ellingson. While the new regulations will lead to modifications to existing sexual harassment policies and grievance procedures, there is some latitude for how schools can interpret and implement the new rules. SCU’s new Policy provides for strong equitable protections to all students, faculty, and staff who experience any form of protected class discrimination or harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and/or retaliation while also balancing the rights of those who are reported to have violated University Policy. Most importantly, under the new Policy, sexual misconduct on- and off-campus that previously constituted a violation of University policy will continue to constitute a violation of University policy.

The release of the new regulations in May with such a short implementation deadline meant that the Interim Policy, while carefully vetted by a wide variety of stakeholders, has not been through the SCU shared governance process. At the start of the new academic year, Professor Ellingson will work with Ms. Guthrie to share the Interim Policy and receive feedback from the Faculty Affairs Committee, Staff Affairs Committee, and Student Affairs Committee, along with both the Faculty Senate and Staff Senate. The Interim Policy is established on a renewable, six-month term to facilitate the governance process.

We will honor our commitment to create and maintain a safe, supportive, inclusive, and responsive environment for all members of our community. The Interim Policy reflects our Jesuit commitment to cura personalis and builds above the baseline established by the new federal regulations to afford equitable, compassionate, and orderly policy and procedures for all members of our community.

If you have questions about the process, or wish to talk to someone about your options to report or seek support, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX. If you have questions about the Interim Policy contact  Belinda Guthrie at bguthrie@scu.edu or Laura Ellingson at lellingson@scu.edu. We welcome your voices and input as we strive to improve SCU’s prevention and response to issues of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct, and to address the concerns of the campus community.

 

Sincerely,

Laura Ellingson
Chair of Policy 311 Task Force
Patrick A. Donohoe, S.J. Professor of Communication and Women's & Gender Studies

Belinda M. Guthrie
Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX

Tim Urdan
UCC Chair
Professor of Psychology

Lisa A. Kloppenberg
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

John Ottoboni
Chief Operating Officer and Senior Legal Counsel

Jeanne Rosenberger
Vice Provost for Student Life & Dean of Students

Charlie Ambelang
Associate Vice President of Human Resources

Bridget Colbert
Interim General Counsel