Title IX Task Force Findings
Training for stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, managers) and for implementers (staff providing sexual harassment and violence supportive, investigative, and decision-making services) are all lacking in frequency and customized content. Of note is the need for specialized training for professionals directly involved in addressing of sexual and gender-based harassment, interpersonal violence and sexual assault, as well as expanded content tailored to unique campus populations.
Members of Training Subgroup
Carl Wells, Interim Director, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs; Jenna Flake, Undergraduate Student Representative; Emily Mathias, Graduate Student Representative; Nathan Strong, Director of Organizational and Professional Development; Marc Shook, Dean of Students, and Interim University Title IX Coordinator; Aimee Hourigan, Director of Substance Abuse Prevention and Education.
Prioritized Action Items and Timeline for Deployment
Action Item / Completion Goal
Create a centralized training function responsible for overseeing delivery, content, and completion of mandatory training, prevention and education programming related to sexual and gender-based harassment, interpersonal violence and sexual assault.
The Title IX Task Force recommended that training be mandatory for all faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students. At current, training and education programs are in place for faculty, staff, and new undergraduate students, although the enforcement mechanisms for completion are not robust. In the Spring of 2022, the university will expand its offerings to include training for new graduate students.
The current training platform will be launched on October 15, 2021 for faculty, staff, employed graduate students and incoming undergraduate students. Training will be customized to the audience (faculty, staff, students). There will be training modalities offered both in person and online. As an example of this, the interim Title IX Coordinator completed 21 in-person Title IX trainings during the summer of 2021, including groups such as new faculty, resident mentors, and student affairs employees.
This mandated training will consist of two parts; a more extended version for first time completers, and a shorter biennial recertification. All training will emphasize the difference between privacy and confidentiality, and the role of mandatory reporters and confidential resources. The training will also emphasize the prohibition against retaliating against individuals for reporting sexual harassment and interpersonal violence, what constitutes retaliation, and how to report retaliation. Refresher trainings are planned on an biennial basis and will be begin starting in Fall of 2022.
Incoming undergraduate students currently face a registration hold for incomplete training, but additional enforcement mechanisms will need to be developed for both graduate students and continuing undergraduates. To ensure faculty and staff participation, the current Equal Opportunity Program’s (EOP) Office will work to develop a tracking system that provides an enforcement mechanism by limiting access to online record management systems if training is not completed. Additionally, a mechanism will be developed to report compliance rates by division and college to Deans, VPs, and Board of Trustee members. This will start during the Fall of 2021.
Marketing and promotion for the university’s Title IX training and education program will be imperative to the initiative’s success. A number of university partners will contribute to the communication efforts including the Faculty and Staff Senate, Graduate Student Association, Title IX Office, Sexual Assault Communications Subcommittee, and the President. The official launch date of the marketing and promotion efforts for university Title IX training and education for faculty and staff will be September 15, 2021. Communication to incoming undergraduate students is robust, but tailored communication plans for continuing students and graduate students must be developed.
In addition, the University is preparing to launch a large education campaign with a focus on raising awareness around Interpersonal Violence. In addition, more robust and frequent training will be required for university employees that have a direct responsibility for Title IX or providing supportive resources for students, staff, and faculty (e.g. Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX coordinators, investigators, Office of Student Conduct, Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention (SAVIP), and academic unit heads). These training efforts began this summer, with specific training for trauma-informed investigations for the University of South Carolina Police Department and training on the Title IX regulations and effective responses for university implementers in EOP, Office of Student Conduct, SAVIP, and other key offices provided by Cozen O’Connor.
2. Comprehensive Strategic Training Plan
Action Item / Completion Goal
Develop a comprehensive, strategic training plan including curriculum to ensure that customizations, policies, protocols, etc., are up to date and included in the training.
To achieve this goal, the Title IX coordinator and campus partners will map the current state of the university’s prevention and education programs, conduct a gap assessment, and design the future plan and strategy for meeting legally-required compliance elements, as well as providing timely, relevant, and tailored information to students, staff, and faculty. We will catalogue current offerings to describe the needs of specific populations and identify gaps in current offerings and conduct further research to identify universal and population specific learning objectives, campus expertise, the need for off-campus expertise, and active and passive education options (e.g. syllabus statements, digital slides). To develop the pedagogy, personnel with specific expertise will be identified to assist with building the curriculum. It is recommended that the Title IX Office have a designated staff member with responsibility for oversight of the for training program.