The University of Toledo recently completed an assessment of its Title IX policies, procedures, training and outreach in an effort to implement the best practices for preventing and addressing sexual assault and harassment.
In a letter to the campus community last week, UT Interim President Nagi Naganathan outlined the recommendations that resulted from that comprehensive review conducted with the assistance of Bisi Okubdejo of Ballard Spahr LLP from Philadelphia.
“The University of Toledo is deeply committed to preventing and addressing sexual assault and harassment, a commitment Ms. Okubdejo and her team from Ballard Spahr recognized following interviews with approximately 100 faculty members, students, staff and administrators,” the president wrote. “I want to thank those who took time to share your insights and contribute to this assessment. Our path forward is clearer thanks to your active engagement and support.”
The assessment’s recommendations include:
• Streamline and reduce the number of Title IX policies to ensure a clear process and a consistent message;
• Address staffing levels dedicated to Title IX, including the appointment of a designated Title IX coordinator and assigning three deputy coordinators;
• Provide increased clarity for the UT community regarding the process for handling Title IX complaints, including clear timelines and identifying which University personnel will assist at different points in the process;
• Conduct a retrospective review of the University’s response to Title IX matters during the past three years;
• Update electronic resources available on UT’s Title IX website and integrate the site with web pages of the Counseling Center, UT Police and Student Affairs;
• Develop an instrument to regularly assess the campus climate with regard to sexual harassment and sexual violence and encourage ongoing public dialogue on the topic among all constituency groups across campus; and
• Create and launch an awareness campaign on campus to educate the community on prevention as well as prohibited conduct and resources available to survivors.
Okubdejo noted that UT had already begun the work to improve processes and procedures to align with the recommendations, requirements and best practices from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
UT is moving forward with the appointment of a Title IX coordinator and is implementing the University’s own “It’s on us” campaign effective fall 2015 to create better awareness and remain vigilant in prevention efforts.
Okubdejo in her report identified the University’s strong commitment from senior leadership, employees and students to participating in ongoing enhancements to the Title IX process.
Naganathan thanked Okubdejo and her team for their assistance to help move UT into a leadership position when it comes to sexual assault prevention and response and to ensure the safety of students and employees.
“The conclusion of this review marks the beginning of a renewed and ongoing effort by this institution,” Naganathan said. “In the weeks and months ahead, we will be calling on the UT community to join us in the University’s steadfast effort to improve our prevention of sexual assault and our response to assist survivors. I want to thank all of you for your commitment to ensuring a safe learning and working environment for all members of the UT community.”
The full report is available here.