Policy requires faculty reports
The University has mandated all faculty and staff members to report sexual violence and harassment to Title IX Coordinator Linda Shinomoto, according to Prof. Bernadette Brooten (NEJS) in an email to the Justice. Previously, faculty members were not considered “mandated reporters” under University policy.
According to Brooten’s report to the Faculty Senate on Nov. 1, 2013, the University Advisory Council Subcommittee on Sexual Violence was looking to address questions as to whether or not faculty members should be required to report instances of sexual violence.
“I am very pleased to be working with the senior administration on implementing our proposals, which have now been discussed in a number of venues and continue to be discussed,” Brooten wrote in an email to the Justice. “Provost Lisa Lynch and other senior administrators have been very receptive to our proposals.”
The UAC Subcommittee on Sexual Violence was created in February 2013 “to examine Brandeis’s policies concerning sexual violence and their implementation” and delivered its report to former Provost Steve Goldstein ’78 and the Faculty Senate in June, according to Brooten in an email to the Justice. The University has not yet released the report, although the UAC and the Faculty Senate will consider its recommendations, Brooten wrote.
The April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education, which clarified universities’ responsibilities under Title IX, states that schools “need to ensure that their employees are trained so that they know to report harassment to appropriate school officials, and so that employees with the authority to address harassment know how to respond properly.” Training, the letter states, should include “practical information about how to identify and report sexual harassment and violence.”
The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights recommends in the letter that this training be provided to “any employees likely to witness or receive reports of sexual harassment and violence, including teachers, school law enforcement unit employees, school administrators, school counselors, general counsels, health personnel, and resident advisors.” It also recommends that schools develop “specific sexual violence materials that include the schools’ policies, rules, and resources for students, faculty, coaches, and administrators.”
Although which individuals should be deemed “responsible employees,” or mandated reporters are not directly specified, the April 2011 Department of Education document titled “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” states that a responsible employee is any employee “who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate school designee; or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.” If a responsible employee is aware of a student-on-student case of sexual harassment or assault, the OCR concedes that the university “reasonably” should have known about the situation, and thus investigated and taken action.
The development follows the launch of a mandatory online sexual harassment training. The training, which is meant “to bring [faculty and staff] up to date with current policy on sexual misconduct at Brandeis and their responsibilities with respect to this policy,” must be completed by Nov. 14, according to Lynch in an email to the Justice. Lynch added that faculty and staff must complete the online training even if they participated in any recent in-person training. Shinomoto is tracking completion.
Shinomoto and her staff have also organized in-person trainings, Lynch wrote. Although the fall sessions are full, more trainings will take place in the spring semester.
Shinomoto did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Editor's Note: The article initially stated incorrectly that the Department of Education document titled “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” was published in April 2014. It was, in fact, published in April 2011.