A Letter from the President and Title IX Coordinator
July 30, 2018
To the Swarthmore Community,
As you may recall, Bindu Jayne joined Swarthmore earlier this month as Title IX Coordinator and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this critical role. We write today with updates on our continued efforts to make Swarthmore a safe place for all students and a supportive place for victims and survivors of sexual assault.
As a society, we are increasingly aware of the pervasiveness of sexual assault and harassment in industries as far-reaching as media, entertainment, finance, technology, and higher education. If there is one primary lesson to be gathered from these broader conversations, it is that we must fight the tendency toward comfort and embrace the difficult conversations which can lead to institutional, and cultural, change.
Swarthmore is committed to leading the way on these critically important issues. In the last five years, and working with national experts in Title IX compliance, campus safety, and student support services, as well as with students, faculty, and staff, the College has taken more than 30 concrete steps to bolster our processes—including the creation of several dedicated staff positions and an overhaul of our procedures.
We are not alone in continually re-assessing our policies and procedures around Title IX. We are grateful to the brave individuals who have shared with us their oftentimes painful stories about how the Title IX reporting process had made them feel revictimized. We take these stories to heart, and we will evolve our practices to ensure a fair and consistent process, timely adjudication, and robust support mechanisms.
Bindu is working with a newly-formed transition team that comprises students, faculty, and staff, as she prepares to implement and explore changes and improvements that include the following:
- The College will clearly explain what all parties’ rights are throughout the Title IX process, what they can do, and who they can contact if they feel their rights have been violated in the process.
- These rights will be explained as part of the first-year orientation process.
- By the end of the 2018-19 academic year, the Title IX Coordinator and transition team will be charged with considering the role of transformative justice within our Title IX process. (i.e. Which current policies and procedures need a greater emphasis on transformative justice? What are the limitations to the transformative justice model at Swarthmore? Will the College create new options centered around transformative justice models?).
- By the end of the academic year, we will require specific and ongoing standards of training for staff members involved in the Title IX processes, which will include, among other pertinent topics, trauma-informed approaches, sensitivity to the needs of queer and non-binary students, fundamental fairness, and equitable engagement with the parties.
- The College will study the average span of time of cases and causes for delay. We will strive to complete all cases in as timely a manner as possible and will clearly communicate when there are delays and why.
Please continue to share your thoughts and concerns with Bindu and the Title IX Office. The office will communicate/send additional updates throughout the year.
Together, we will make Swarthmore stronger.
Title IX Coordinator