Senate Beat: Sept 21, 2020

New Title IX Coordinator Chris Toutain Discusses Implementation of Policy Changes

This week, your very own Student Body Senate convened before a not-unrespectable crowd to provide updates on how committees and offices across campus are setting course and gaining momentum for the year’s trajectory. Chris Toutain, Reed’s Title IX and 504 Coordinator, presented and answered questions regarding Title IX changes and their implications for Reed.

SB Vice President Apoorva Mangipudi reminded students that Funding Poll is open until Thursday, Sept 24 at 11:59 p.m.! She then recounted efforts by the Student Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (SCAPP) to propose changes to classrooms, attendance, and deadlines amidst the intense smoke and hazardous air quality. SCAPP initially proposed total cancellation of classes and postponement of assignments, but a sympathetic and receptive faculty cited students’ reports of the importance of in-person classes and agreed to flexible deadlines for the near future.

Chris Toutain has been part of a working group since July to bring the college into compliance with the Title IX updates by the August 14 deadline, and Monday detailed changes to the policy. The primary procedural change is the instatement of a mandatory live hearing which includes cross-examination of parties and witnesses by complainant and respondent advisors. The Title IX Board has decided to use a third party hearing administrator during the live hearings to determine the appropriateness of questions and lines of questioning, and it will deliberate externally on whether or not a policy violation occurred. This verdict will then be returned to the Title IX Board for final review and sanctioning.

The other notable change is to the categories of obligated reporters. Faculty and housing advisors have been removed, and instead faculty and staff who supervise any other faculty, staff, or student workers have been added. Toutain noted that this will likely be one of the more confusing elements going forward, as faculty are likely to be less clear about who is an obligated reporter and will need to work to know their own obligations and be prepared to disclose them. He also encouraged everyone to ask and to learn the obligated reporters under the new policy, and urged students to take advantage of emerging modes to get involved in shaping how these new policies are enacted and refined in line with Reed’s community legislation.

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