Task Force Letter
To The Claremont Colleges Community:
Creating and maintaining an environment free from sexual misconduct and sexual harassment is an extremely high priority for all of us who are part of The Claremont Colleges. To that end The Claremont Colleges (TCC) Title IX Adjudication Task Force was convened by the Council of Presidents in late fall of 2019 for the purpose of seeking a common adjudication process among the seven institutions.
The primary motivation for establishing the Task Force was to address concerns students have expressed regarding their perceptions of potential bias in the adjudication of cases that fall under the definition of Title IX sexual harassment between students.The Council also recognized the need to update TCC policies in light of developments in case law and regulatory changes at the federal and state level.
The Task Force is keenly aware of the importance of this new policy to our community, and we are eager to receive feedback. We had planned to engage students, student leaders, advocates, faculty and staff in the development process well prior to adoption of the policy. Unfortunately, as with so much else in life, our timeline for gathering input was delayed by COVID-19. This delay, combined with an unexpectedly short deadline to adopt new rules imposed by the Federal Department of Education, left us with no time to gather input prior to adopting what we are now referring to as an “interim” policy. We also want to note that this policy will not apply to the students, faculty, or staff of Keck Graduate Institute, which will continue to handle Title IX complaints as an individual institution.
Many in our community, including members of the Task Force, do not support all of the changes required by the federal government. Nonetheless, we are required to adopt a policy that complies with these new regulations or risk the loss of federal funding, which would substantially diminish the quality of education for the students at The Claremont Colleges.
Despite the more concerning aspects of the new federal regulations, the new policy and process we have designed is intended to improve the way Title IX cases are adjudicated at TCC in several key ways. We want to be very clear that reporting parties will continue to be able to make complaints to and receive support measures from their home campus Title IX Coordinator. However, the new policy centralizes the investigation and adjudication of cases within TCCS and assures that these functions will be performed by individuals who are unaffiliated with any campus. These changes are intended to remove any perception of bias and to improve consistency in the process, in findings of policy violation, and in sanctioning decisions. It is also important to note that all parties will have the opportunity to ask questions and review the evidence at key points in the process.
We encourage the members of our community to review the policy, the summary documents and to participate in the comment period on each of your campuses. Please visit our Title IX website at services.claremont.edu/titleix. We are drafting a guidance document that will provide the rationale for key policy provisions and will post it as soon as possible. You may submit a comment form through the website or submit written comments to TitleIX@claremont.edu by Wednesday, September 23, 2020. Receiving feedback from everyone is crucial for the development of the best possible final policy.
We are so appreciative of the work many of you have already done and continue to do in this highly charged, emotionally difficult area. And we thank everyone in advance for your participation and engagement on this issue of such importance to us all.
Cristina Rose, TCC Board of Directors (Task Force Chair)
Matt Bibbens, Vice President and General Counsel, Claremont McKenna College
Quamina Carter, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Claremont Graduate University
Anna Gonzalez, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Harvey Mudd College
Jamie Jorgensen, Chief of Staff, Chief Legal Counsel, Pitzer College
Stig Lanesskog, CEO, The Claremont Colleges Services
Cynthia Martinez, Dean of Students, Keck Graduate Institute
Gabi Starr, President, Pomona College
Lara Tiedens, President, Scripps College
*members listed alphabetically