September 5, 2014

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year.  I recently joined the Swarthmore community as the new Title IX Coordinator, I am here as a resource for you and look forward to meeting many of you.  

I have a few quick updates from the Title IX office for the campus:

* Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy Update – As you know from Dean Miller’s email last week, this summer the Interim Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy was reviewed and the "interim" status was removed.  Several clarifications were made -- including emphasizing that complaints under this policy will typically be resolved by an external adjudicator, updating the information for the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, updating the resources section to include the new positions, Sexual Violence Prevention Educator and Advocate (confidential resource) and Grievance Adviser, and formally adding "Intimate Partner Violence," to the section of prohibited behavior. All good policies are a combination of federal guidance, national best practice, and campus values.  As our conversations as a community continue, the policy will continue to evolve.

*Office location -- Currently The Title IX office is located in the North Wing of Parrish Hall (N283), but in the coming weeks Kathleen Withington, Administrative Assistant, and I will be moving to 504 Fieldhouse Lane.  As soon as we settle into the new space we will host an open house.  Watch for more information.  

A great deal of progress was made in the last year  -- new staff, new policies, and focused attention on how to best prevent and respond to sexual misconduct on campus. I look forward to building on that momentum, and to that end I have created a new working group, the Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response Team, to collaboratively review and update the four cornerstones of good practice:  (1) good policies, (2) fair and clear adjudication, (3) ample sources of support for survivors and others impacted by sexual violence, and (4) robust and dynamic sexual violence prevention efforts that include education on healthy relationships.  In addition to this team, I will be creating a student Title IX Advisory Board to assist with our efforts.

Please stay tuned for more information about an Open House and a series of community conversations to be hosted at the Title IX House this fall.

I know there is a great deal of national attention on this issue right now – in the country and focused on our own campus.  We have an opportunity to build on the progress we have made to become a national leader in higher education on how to prevent sexual violence and respond if sexual misconduct happens.  It will take a community-wide effort. I am very honored to join the Swarthmore community and look forward to working with you.