Ithaca College Title IX Petition

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On May 6th, the Department of Education issued its Final Rule changing the Title IX obligations of all schools receiving federal funding. Consistent with the harmful rhetoric and anti-survivor ideology Secretary DeVos has brought to the Department, the Rule contains dangerous provisions that go against best practices, tip the scales against survivors, and jeopardize tens of thousands of students’ civil right sto an education free from discrimination.

This rule will have devastating consequences for students and their families. Specifically, the rule will require schools to only investigate the most extreme forms of harassment and assault, require schools to ignore most violence that occurs off-campus, require live hearings and direct cross-examination of complainants and respondents by each of their chosen representatives, and allow needless delays in the completion of Title IX investigations. Altogether, these changes will discourage survivors from coming forward and utilizing the Title IX process at their schools, resulting in rampant sexual violence going unaddressed.

We, as students and community members, are calling on ​Ithaca College to uphold the civil rights of all students on campus. Multiple sections within the rule give schools discretion to choose how policies are implemented. We urge ​IC to commit to taking sexual violence seriously by choosing the options that would create the least harm for student survivors. We call on Ithaca College to commit to the following:

1. Establishing the preponderance of the evidence as the standard of evidence in all campus sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination cases.

2. [Maintaining/establishing] a time limit of sixty calendar days for the completion of sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination cases, with exceptions only for substantial extenuating circumstances.​

3. Continuing to respond promptly to reports of and carrying out existing investigations into sexual misconduct during the global health crisis. ​

4. Guaranteeing all students access to reasonable interim measures regardless of where or when the violence or discrimination they experienced took place. ​The serious effects of violence and discrimination merit accommodations whether a student was harmed on-campus, on a study-abroad trip, or in their private apartment.

5. Creating and following sexual misconduct procedures for investigating otherwise not covered instances of off-campus and study abroad violence.

6. Barring the use of informal resolution mechanisms including but not limited to mediation in cases of sexual assault, rape2, dating and domestic violence, and stalking that is an extension of such violence.

7. Following the Department of Education’s rescinded ​2016 guidance​ on protecting LGBTQ+ students in order to ensure all students have equal access to a safe learning environment, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.