National Center for Higher Education Risk Management
Investigating Campus Sexual Misconduct
An NCHERM Regional Seminar presented by Brett A. Sokolow, J.D., W. Scott Lewis, J.D. and Saundra K. Schuster, J.D.
For years, campuses have sought models of resolution for campus sexual misconduct complaints that provide fairness, balance, and a measure of outcome satisfaction for the participants. We’ve tried adversarial hearings. Administrative hearings. Shuttle diplomacy. Mediation. Restorative justice. And, hybrids of each of these. For the most part, we’ve failed miserably. No one is ever happy. Justice is rarely done. Truth remains elusive. At best, we have tweaked our processes to minimize secondary victimization of complainants, but adding no further harm should not be our yardstick for success. Throw in the possibility of concurrent criminal prosecution, and the potential difficulties multiply.
Why can’t we get this right?
That’s simple. We’re trying to fit campus sexual misconduct into a student conduct/discipline framework like hazing, a roommate conflict, or some similar developmental challenge. With the wrong lens, you can’t take the right picture. Campus sexual misconduct is more accurately seen not as a conduct issue, but as a civil rights discrimination. When viewed through a civil rights and discrimination lens, the answer has been right there in front of our eyes for a long time. We resolve sexual harassment with an investigation model. We always have. And, very few people gripe about the process because it works. It’s humane, effective, efficient and can be integrated with relative ease into our current hearing and resolution models. We need to take a page from HR, and create a civil rights investigation model for addressing campus sexual misconduct. Civil rights investigation is not police-led investigation, and it is not the same as investigating a student conduct violation. It is a very specific, highly specialized skill-set. But, where do you to get the training you need in how to develop, implement and operate a civil rights investigation model for campus sexual misconduct? This event is designed for you.
This training will benefit you, whether you work in student affairs or student conduct and need a new model, or work in campus law enforcement or HR, and need to sharpen your civil investigation skills. In fact, anyone investigating any type of civil rights complaint will benefit from this training, including those investigating hate crimes, gender bias, racial, religious, ethic, and other discriminatory acts against any group or protected class. Prosecutors, sex crimes investigators, magistrates, victim advocates and judges are welcome too. Criminal justice authorities will gain insight into the campus process as well as picking up some investigation tips. Importantly, we’ll address the confluence of campus, civil and criminal processes, legal obligations that attach, and how we can all do our jobs cooperatively and collaboratively without obstructing each other.
9:00am – 10:15am -- A New Paradigm
• Comparative Resolution Models: Strengths and Weaknesses
o Adversarial/formal hearing models
o Informal hearing models
o Administrative hearings
o Critical Issues Boards/Sexual Misconduct Boards
o Shuttle diplomacy
o Restorative justice
• Meeting the aims of fairness, education, community protection, remedy and healing
• Introduction to the Civil Rights Paradigm
10:30am to noon -- The Civil Rights Investigation Model – Best Practices
• Who investigates?
o The investigation team model
o HR/Student conduct jurisdictional intersection issues
• Active v. passive accumulation of evidence
• Identification of witnesses
o Character witnesses
o Primary witnesses
o Secondary witnesses
o Expert witnesses
• Strategic investigation
o When to charge?
o When to question witnesses?
o When to question the respondent?
• Investigation best practices
o Feeling the flow of evidence
Noon to 1:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm to 2:30pm – Investigation Model Best Practices, Continued
• The Investigation Report
o Summarize your findings
o Tell a story and note gaps
o Make a finding on the question of policy violation, if the evidence suggests one
o Share your findings
• The Role of the Investigator
o In the hearing
o In sanctioning
o In remedial proceedings
• Hearing models and the Investigator
o Role as witness
o Influence on evidence
o Lying by witnesses
• The Investigation Model and Restorative Justice
2:45pm to 5:00pm – Mock Investigation
• Using a case study, participants will:
o Uncover evidence
o Follow the trail
o Question witnesses
o Conduct policy analysis
o Make a finding
The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs annual conference will be held at the Red Lion Hotel Richland Hanford House. Olga Trujillo is the featured keynote speaker. A pre-conference institute (on May 24) addressing issues involving children with sexual behavior problems will be offered. For more information, contact Grant Stancliff at email@example.com or 360-754-7583 or visit the website.
Washington Sexual Violence Prevention College Coalition, Central Washington University
The Washington Sexual Violence Prevention College Coalition and Central Washington University will host a Green Dot training featuring Green Dot creator, Dr Dorothy Edwards at CWU. Green Dot is a bystander intervention program that aims to prevent power-based personal violence (sexual violence, partner violence, stalking, and child abuse). Dr. Dorothy Edwards (University of Kentucky) will provide all the necessary information and training to implement Green Dot on your campus or in your community. Check out www.greendotkentucky.com for more information on this innovative program.
WHO: WA Universities, community colleges, state agencies
DATE: MAY 10-13, 2010 TIME: 8 am-5 pm (each day)
LOCATION: Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
COST: $100 per person (before April 23) $120 per person (April 24-May 3)
**Meals are not included in the registration cost
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 3, 2010
CONTACT Andrea Easlick at EaslickA@cwu.edu or 509-963-3233 with questions or for more information.
Pacific Lutheran University, Women's Center's Men Against Violence Program
"Paving a Rocky Road", is a metaphor to honor the history of Women's Movements which drive Men Against Violence (MAV) efforts around the country. The metaphor continues as Men Against Violence looks to the future of engaging larger numbers of people in our struggle to create social change around gender equity and violence against women. While men are certainly not “The” solution, this change cannot come without large numbers of men and women both working together. MAV can “pave the way” to gaining the support of larger numbers by removing barriers that traditionally keep men from engaging in a topic which touches us all.
This conference will broaden the ways the movement seeks to engage those who identify as male in ways that do not continue to marginalize across gender, sexual orientation, race, class, etc while challenging us all to explore the interesectionality of oppressions and violence. Specific topics include explorations of MAV program creation and success, collaboration with communities of faith, and developing the social justice leadership of tomorrow.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Hand in Hand Through a Lifetime.” This theme acknowledges the various points in people’s lives during which they may be affected by sexual violence. We also wish to highlight the importance of creating a caring and connected community in order to prevent and intervene in sexual violence, especially for children. This year’s keynote speaker will be Olga Trujillo. She will address the dynamics and impacts of sexual assault with a focus on the resiliency of children and the importance of culture in healing. The goal of our conference is to unite agencies and individuals working to end sexual violence, provide educational opportunities to deepen our understanding of sexual violence, and facilitate social change.
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