Discourse / Letters / April 22, 2015

Activist group demands changes in sexual assault policy

Knox Power Alliance (KPA) has been working with national organizations to formulate a list of demands for improvement of Knox’s sexual assault policies. Our initial attempt to inform the campus of these demands, aside from a Title IX awareness event, was to place posters around campus. From the response on YikYak, we realized these posters were miscalculated and proved hurtful to many people.

KPA would like to deeply apologize, as from the beginning this campaign has only meant to empower survivors and foster discourse on campus about sexual assault and sexual assault policies. Apart from a forum hosted by KPA on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Round Room of CFA to discuss the posters, we also would like to hear suggestions and concerns from students at any point as the campaign continues.

We intend to keep campaigning until the demands for the creation of a safe space for survivors at Knox are met. To that end, we would greatly appreciate any feedback on how to approach this in a way that is fully compliant with the wishes of all survivors on campus. The following is our list of demands as created by survivors, other student members and ASCA policies and approved by Know Your IX:

Mandatory Reporting Process and Initial Procedures

Mandatory reporting shall no longer apply to residence halls, personal essays, course-related class discussion and off-campus conversations. Faculty members (with the exception of department chairs), resident assistants and campus staff will have the option of anonymously filing sexual assault reports without identifying the victim using the reporting system Callisto.

Title IX Coordinators shall be transparent with survivors about which members of the administration and staff will be notified of the sexual assault and about the investigative process itself via a Memorandum of Understanding.

Knox College shall honor their contract with the rape advocacy program WIRC by immediately referring students to WIRC for free legal aid both inside and outside of Formal Resolution procedures.

It shall immediately be made clear by the Title IX Coordinator to survivors and all students that rape kits and medical examinations are free in Illinois for anyone reporting a sexual assault, should they choose to undergo the procedure.

Appointment of Investigator(s) and Investigative Process 

The Investigator(s) hired shall have no prior affiliation with the college and have had extensive experience with Title IX, as well as pre existing credentials with an avowed Title IX-affiliated organization.

Retroactive prosecutions shall be allowed if the victim has graduated AND the alleged perpetrator still attends Knox College.

Investigations into sexual assaults shall be completed within 30 to 60 days of the sexual assault report, as is legally required by the Office for Civil Rights.

The Investigator(s) and Adjudicator(s) shall give timely notice to all parties in the investigation process of investigation progress, general updates and trial dates.

During the investigative process, statements about prior consent or supposed promiscuity of either party and questions which suggest the victim is at fault are to be barred.

Investigator(s) shall acknowledge the barriers which may prevent victims from utilizing rape kits, and shall not harass victims who do not choose to undergo this medical procedure.

Victims and alleged perpetrators shall write their own testimonies of the alleged assault without the influence or coercion of the administration.

Any Investigator who has been alleged to ask problematic questions and/or does not follow the preponderance of evidence standard shall be reviewed and sanctioned accordingly.

Formation of Pool of Staff Support System

Sensitivity and legal training is to be provided to a pool of trained staff as an additional support network for survivors. These staff members will be of diverse backgrounds and at least two will have professional experience with psychological trauma.

Knox College shall find adequate resources for international students who are victims of sexual offenses, as approved by constituents of international organizations.

Adjudicator and Adjudicative Process

The Adjudicator(s) shall be reviewed and approved by an avowed Title IX-affiliated organization. In addition, the adjudicator shall undergo extensive training listed in ASCA’s Appendix C: Competencies for Adjudicators.

The Adjudicator(s) shall enforce substance abuse classes on survivors only in the case of documented prior student abuse of substances. Survivors shall not be mandated to undergo substance abuse classes for a minimum of eight weeks after the assault, and the suggestion of such classes shall not be made with reference to the assault.

Determination of Sanction(s)

The standard sanction for those convicted of rape shall be immediate expulsion or termination of employment if said person is faculty or staff.

Knox College will uphold interim measures, including but not limited to promptly providing safe residence for victims and enforcing No-Contact Orders. These interim measures shall be upheld even in instances of appeal.

Students requesting postponement of a trial shall do so only under extreme emergency.

Knox College shall be transparent with victims about what constitutes “retaliatory actions” against the alleged rapist in the Memorandum of Understanding. Retaliation shall not include sanctions or survivors sharing personal accounts of sexual assault with family and friends.

Further Promotion of Anti-Sexual Assault Culture

Kim Schrader shall be removed from her position as Title IX Coordinator due to an obvious conflict of interest and documented evidence of prejudicial attitudes, dismissive behavior and intimidating acts against survivors which hinder victims from seeking justice and feeling supported. The Title IX Coordinator instated in Kim Schrader’s stead shall be hired from a Title IX organization and have no prior affiliation to Knox College.

Knox College shall host informative, inclusive, and consistent sexual assault educational programs for the student body, faculty members, staff members and residential staff members.

Knox College shall increase its transparency with the student body and all faculty and staff members regarding policies, policy changes, and sexual offenses on campus. In particular, we demand that the administration frequently send out emails to the student body detailing all policy changes, preparations for policy changes and reports of sexual misconduct.

A Title-IX affiliated student organization shall be formed to continually monitor all Title IX investigations to ensure prompt and just handling of sexual assault cases. The organization shall also act as a liaison between students and other legal organizations should such cases be mishandled.

TKS Staff

Tags:  activism demands KPA open forum sanctions sexual assault policy support system

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