University of Delaware Title IX Demands: UD Stop Rape
University of Delaware Title IX Demands: UD Stop Rape
UD Stop Rape Now: Not One More
We, UD students and the greater community, are tired of the University of Delaware's horrific and dangerous actions, and we will not tolerate them any longer. We demand the University of Delaware comply with federal Title IX laws. We demand there be a thorough review of the University of Delaware’s Title IX practices and policies and that the University revise their policies in order to get rapists off campus and create a safe community. In addition, we demand the following changes to the University’s Title IX Office Practices and provisions for student safety:
- Enforce Affirmative Consent
- Do NOT place burden of proof on the victim
- Allow victims all resources allowed to respondent ie. Legal council
- Do not dismiss Title IX cases prior to investigation! No more refusing to investigate cases of sexual violence
- Place a contact ban on the respondent. Hold the respondents responsible for avoiding contact with victims, including proximity.
- Broaden retaliation policy to actually prevent retaliation and protect victims
- Remove respondent from UD leadership positions, UD employment, athletics and Greek life
- Give adequate sanctions to students found responsible for sexual misconduct- no more $100 fine- get rapists off our campus
- Involve survivors in Title IX
Implement increased safety measures
- Implement educational requirements for staff and students
- Guarantee mental health services for students
- Protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination and violence
- Protect BIPOC students from discrimination and violence
We, the students of University of Delaware (UD) and members of the greater community, are outraged at the University’s mishandling of incidents of gender based violence. We are horrified at the many individual incidents where the University did not provide for the safety of victims of gender based violence, and did not hold the perpetrators accountable. The University has allowed perpetrators of sexual violence to remain as members of the UD community with impunity, creating a hostile environment for all students and compromising the safety of the entire community.
The University of Delaware is required to comply with Federal Title IX laws to continue to receive federal funding. This law states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Federal law specifically bans “sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence.”
The University of Delaware is in clear violation of these federal Title IX regulations as demonstrated by its dangerous environment for female students and the University’s failure to hold students who violate Title IX laws accountable for their actions.
In particular, University of Delaware’s Title IX office maintains an unsafe educational environment for its students by perpetually mishandling cases over the span of many years. The Title IX office disregards victims, fails to investigate a majority of cases, and erroneously applies their affirmative consent policy, resulting in few cases of accountability. They have even allowed students who were found or pled responsible to sexual assault to remain on campus and graduate with a University of Delaware degree. According to data from the last few years, the University had investigated less than 10% of reported cases due to victims being discouraged by Title IX staff and the excessively difficult process the victims must go through in order for their case to be investigated. Of the cases investigated, less than half resulted in a “responsible” finding. How is this possible? Did over half of the women who reported make false rape allegations? Statistically, this is extremely unlikely. A widely cited study by the University of Colorado, Boulder, states: “that of all rapes … 0.005 percent are false allegations.” While this study would suggest that the vast majority of rape investigations at the University of Delaware should result in a “responsible” finding, over 50% of investigations have resulted in a finding of “not responsible.” These numbers demonstrate that the Title IX process for sexual assault within the University is deeply flawed.
Many survivors of sexual violence who’s cases were mishandled by the University of Delaware and their Title IX office were interviewed about their experiences. The following demand list offers solutions to specific problems that we found based on these interviews. Many of us have attempted to work with the University, cooperating with the University’s internal procedures and exhausting all resources. Some of us have even had lawyers and other third parties reach out to the University on our behalf to attempt to resolve the matter. Despite our efforts, the University of Delaware has refused to appropriately address most of our cases. Due to the University’s failure to respond to other measures, we are no longer asking for change, but are demanding it. We will continue to escalate our grievances until the University of Delaware meets our demands.
I.) Affirmative Consent Enforced
While many University of Delaware educational materials state that consent for sexual activity must be explicit, verbal, informed, and enthusiastic, the Title IX office has not enforced this requirement for students to engage in sexual activity. While the written title IX policy states that “consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of active response alone,” multiple Title IX respondents who did not obtain consent for sexual activity have been held “not responsible” for sexual assault and rape. Rapists were held not responsible when their victims were silent during the rape. Respondents have also been held not responsible when their victims consented to one sexual activity, withdrew consent, and respondents proceeds to have sex with them anyway.
Additionally, the University policy states “the use of alcohol or drugs can limit a person’s ability to give consent freely and clearly” and “the perspective of a reasonable person evaluating another person’s physical or verbal functions will be the basis for determining whether one should have known that the use of alcohol or drugs impaired that person’s ability to give consent.” However, the Title IX office has held respondents who knew their victims were intoxicated, witnessed their victims consuming alcohol and drugs, or were informed by their victims that they were intoxicated, “not responsible” for sexual assault. They have held the rapists not responsible when there was video evidence of their victims consuming alcohol and having difficulty with gross motor tasks in their presence. Title IX coordinator Dannica Meyers stated that if a person is “walking and talking” that they are effectively considered to be able to give consent. An individual needs to be mentally capable of more than just walking and talking in order to give consent for sexual activity.
We demand that the University of Delaware Title IX Office define and enforce consent before every sexual action taken by a student as explicit, verbal, enthusiastic consent that cannot be inferred or implied by lack of a “no.” There is no such thing as nonverbal consent and any Title IX policies allowing respondents to claim “nonverbal consent” must be amended to require verbal or written consent. We demand that respondents who give their victims drugs and/or alcohol prior to raping them be held responsible. We demand that a respondent whose victim informed them that they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol and/or not able to give consent due to medical or psychological factors that alter their mental status be found responsible.
II.) Burden of proof NOT be placed on the victim
TWhile the University’s Title IX process is supposed to determine outcomes based on preponderance of evidence, they have held rapists “not responsible” due to “lack of corroborating evidence” that consent was NOT obtained, while they have not required the respondent to provide any evidence that they obtained consent prior to sexual contact. Thus the burden of proof was placed on the victim, and the rapist was not held accountable. This has led to multiple incidents where women have been gang raped by fraternity members or division 1 athletes, and the rapists were held “not responsible” by the University and allowed to remain on campus. These were particularly egregious incidents of the mishandling of a rape case by the University of Delaware and UD must take divisive action to prevent these dangerous and unacceptable incidents from occuring in the future.
We demand that all respondents provide evidence that consent was obtained in order for a “not responsible” outcome to be reached by the University of Delaware’s Title IX office. While obtaining evidence of consent may be inconvenient, the University must implement this to ensure all students obtain clear and tangible consent from thier sexual partner for every sexual activity they engage in.
III.) Victims have all resources allowed to respondent ie. Legal council
The university's Office of Student Conduct treats all respondents to claims of misconduct as thought they are guilty of the alleged misconduct until they prove otherwise. However, the University's Title IX office holds respondents "innocent until proven guilty."
The University of Delaware has treated the perpetrators better than the victim in many cases, providing them with respect, accommodations, and resources not available to victims. Third party staff members, such as coaches and professiord, have been allowed to intervene on behalf of sexual assault perpetrators. The most egregious case of this behavior within the University’s Title IX Office was when a rapist was allowed to include correspondence from their lawyer while the victim was chastised for attempting to include correspondence from their lawyer. The rapist was also allowed additional time to collect evidence and turn in written responses, while the victim was held to a strict and shorter timeline to collect evidence and turn in written responses.
We demand the following:
- The University of Delaware Title IX office may not give students preferential treatment based on socioeconomic status, status as a university employee, academic or athletic status, or involvement in University organizations.
- Third parties (ie. coaches, family members or other UD staff) may not intervene or interfere with Title IX proceedings on behalf of the respondent besides designated support person.
- Title IX policies shall be enforced equally on both victim and respondent. Respondent shall not be given any accommodations, resources, or timeline extensions that are not also available to the victim.
IV.) A complaint cannot be dismissed by Title IX office prior to investigation! NO MORE REFUSING TO IVESTIGATE CASES OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
The University Title IX office has investigated less than 10% of reported cases. The University Title IX office has refused to investigate sexual assault cases, discrimination, harassment, stalking, and retaliation cases. We demand the University Title IX office and the University Police shall also document and fully investigate any report of sexual misconduct, harassment, or retaliation when requested by a student.
We demand the UD Police and the Title IX Office may not deem a report to fall outside of their policy without a full investigation. All sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, gender violence, discrimination based on legally protected characteristics, and stalking shall be under the jurisdiction of the Title IX office and may not be referred to another University office. Students shall be allowed to initiate investigations verbally or in writing.
The University has conducted investigations without notifying the victim. Thus, the victim was not involved in the investigation at all, and the rapist was not held accountable. We demand the University Title IX office do not conduct an investigation without the consent or input of the victim.
Additionally, the University of Delaware has made their Title IX process unreasonably difficult and complicated for students. We demand that the process be revised to become easier and less complicated.
The Title IX office has refused to investigate sexual assault cases that involved sexual or offensive touching of body parts other than the genitals, button, or female’s breast. We demand that all sexual misconduct shall be under the jurisdiction of the Title IX office, including sexual or offensive touching of the chest, legs, face, or any other body part.
Victims are held to strict deadlines and their only options for academic accommodations during the process are through the Dean of Students or the Office of Disability Support Services, both of which allow professors to determine whether or not a student can use their accommodations. We demand that the process is changed to become trauma informed and accommodate for physical, mental, and psychological disabilities. The process will take place when the victim is ready to proceed, and the victim will be given as much time as they need at each step of the process. The Title IX must avoid interrupting academic and work commitments of the victim.
Currently, the victim and respondent are responsible for finding and collecting all evidence and showing it to the investigator prior to the investigation. We demand that the investigator or other Title IX staff must take part in seeking relevant evidence. We demand that the investigator or any other Title IX staff cannot prevent any evidence from being shown in a hearing, and students can bring in evidence not seen by the investigator, provided that the evidence is relevant and not intended to slander the character of the victim.
Currently, the entire Title IX process for collecting evidence and determination of an outcome are mainly conducted by the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, hearing officer. More than three people are necessary to make this important decision. We demand the Title IX process involve more people, specifically the panel of student sexual assault or domestic violence survivors chosen by their peers (see section VIII).
V.) Contact ban on respondent. Respondent is responsible for avoiding contact with victims, including proximity.
Currently, the only options for a victim to be protected from their rapist is to get a mutual no contact ban from the Dean of Students. This ban does not include proximity of the rapist to their victim. This has led to dangerous situations, such as the victims being placed in dorms and classes with their rapist. In these instances, the University’s only recourse for the victim is for the VICTIM to move classes, dorms, and change their behaviors in order to avoid their rapist. The University has also knowingly allowed rapists to approach or remain in proximity of their victims with no consequences.
We demand that the Title IX office issue a one-sided contact ban to the respondent, and that the respondent be held responsible for staying away from their victim. They shall not be placed in the same dorm building or class as their victim. They shall not approach their victim and shall leave any places that their victims are in. Violation of this contact ban will result in sanctions for the respondent.
VI.) Broaden retaliation policy to actually prevent retaliation and protect victims
Title IX laws state “no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX.”
The University of Delaware is not complying with this federal mandate. The current retaliation policy is vague and does not actually protect victims from being retaliated against. Victims have been harassed by their rapists and their rapist’s friends, and the Title IX office has not done anything about it. The Office of Student Conduct has suspended a student for communicating with the Title IX office, and chastised another student for attempting to report sexual assault and harassment to the police. University Title IX Coordinator Danica Meyers described a situation where a rapist approached their Title IX victim on campus and handed the victim the sweater they had left in the rapist's house, and stated that this would not be considered retaliation, as it is not connected with the Title IX process. This is unacceptable; victims need to be protected from their rapists regardless of whether or not the rapist’s actions are directly related to the Title IX process.
We demand that the University protect students from all retaliation including harassment, hostile environment, or discipline from other students, staff, or the University for raising concerns about sexual violence and discrimination, attempting to report sexual violence and discrimination to University, Police, and all other parties, stating that they have experienced sexual violence, corresponding with the Title IX office, or taking part in the Title IX process.
VII.) Remove respondent from UD leadership positions, UD employment, athletics, and Greek life
There have been multiple instances where students in a position have power have raped a fellow student and UD has allowed them to remain in their position of power. The most egregious case of this was the Division I Hokey team, who gang raped a fellow student. To date, none of the rapists have been held accountable for their actions, and they have been allowed to remain Division I athletes on campus. Rapists have also been hired by academic departments as teachers assistants, threatening the safety of all students and staff in that department. When asked about rapists being employed at the University, Dean of Students Adam Cantly stated that each organization within the University “has the right” to hire whoever they want, regardless of whether they have violated Title IX policy. This is unacceptable and allows sexual predators to be in positions of power at the University, threatening the safety of all students.
We demand that respondents be banned from all University leadership positions, including Resident Assistants, Student Government, leadership positions in dorms and Registered Student Organizations, and the Blue Hen Leadership Program. We also demand that respondents be removed from Division I athletic teams and Greek life. Respondents must also be removed from any University of Delaware associated employment. Respondents may be reinstated in these positions if they are found “not responsible” for violating Title IX policy. Respondents found “responsible” may not be reinstated in their leadership roles, athletics, Greek life, or any employment associated with the University of Delaware.
VIII.) Adequate sanctions- no more $100 fine- get rapists off our campus!
The University of Delaware has provided inadequate sanctions to those found responsible for sexual misconduct. The most egregious instance of this was when a student was found responsible for drugging and raping a fellow student at a university sanctioned event, and his only sanctions were differed suspension, taking a class, writing an essay, and paying a $100 fine. This student remained in good standing and received a degree from the University of Delaware. Allowing a known rapist to remain a part of UD is unacceptable, as it puts the other thousands of paying students who are not sexual predators in danger. This rapist should have been expelled from the University and banned from all University events.
We demand that all students found responsible for sexual misconduct be immediately expelled from the University and banned from UD’s campus and all University events.
IX.) Survivor involvement in Title IX
Students currently are not involved in the actual Title IX process besides some appellate boards.
Students are involved in the Office of Student Conduct’s Appellate board.
In order to hold the Title IX office accountable to the students who it is supposed to protect, and in order to prevent future Title IX cases from resulting in an incorrect outcome or inappropriate sanctions, student survivors must be heavily involved in the Title IX process. Each outcome must be reviewed by a larger panel of student survivors. In order for an outcome of “not responsible” to be reached, at least half of the student survivors must review all evidence and approve the decision. These individuals will be appointed or voted on by their fellow students and should be adequately compensated by the University for their time and effort. There will be a system in place for these survivors to conceal their identity, and these individuals will be protected from harassment and retaliation from their fellow students or the University.
X.) Increased safety measures
The recent attempted kidnapping of a woman while on campus has highlighted the need for increased safety measures on UD’s campus. We demand the University guarantee our safety as paying students. We demand all Blue Lights around campus be in working order. We also demand that all parts of campus be well lit at night. Working security cameras need to be placed on all parts of campus. Students shall be allowed to carry pepper spray on campus to use in self defense.
After Brandon Freyre kidnapped and brutally assaulted his former girlfriend, UD failed to notify students in a timely manner. We demand to be notified of all dangerous or criminal activity occurring on campus in a timely manner. We also demand to be notified of criminal activity occurring off campus in a timely manner.
The University of Chicago has designated sober students at parties to serve as a resource for any student with health or safety concerns. They also have unarmed, non-police security monitors stationed around their campus. We demand the University implement this model by taking the following measures: For every University Sanctioned social event, there must be one sober student SOS advocate and/ or designated sober safety student for every hundred people in attendance. These sober safety chaperones will be compensated for their time by the University. Sober chaperones shall also be made available to students for off campus parties and social gatherings. The University shall place non-police safety monitors around the campus 24/7 when classes are in session and when University housing is open. These safety monitors shall be adequately compensated for their time and skills by the university.
XI.) Educational Requirements for staff and students
While staff and student are all supposed to take an online EverFi module regarding sexual assault prevention, we have found many students have not completed this module. We demand one hundred percent of staff and students complete this module prior to living, taking classes, or participating in activities on campus.
We also demand additional education aimed at preventing domestic violence and sexual assault for fraternity and sorority members as well as Division I athletes and Resident Assistants. Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault should be involved in approving these educational materials.
XII.) Guarantee mental health services for students
The University Counseling Center has refused to provide therapy to many students and told them their only option is to seek counseling off campus. Many students do not have access to the money or transportation required for off campus therapy, and are unable to access any type of therapy when they need it most. The counseling center has told students they do not fit the counseling center’s short-term model due to previously seeking counseling or having a history of mental health concerns. It is unacceptable to prevent a student from accessing the mental health care they need, especially when they have a history of mental health concerns. Mental health care is critical for students who have experienced a trauma such as sexual assault and dating violence. We demand the University take responsibility for providing mental health services to all students, and do not discriminate against or determine who they provide mental health services to based on existing mental health disabilities such as Post Traumatic Stress disorder. The University will provide weekly counselling services to any student that needs them in addition to crisis counseling.
XIII.) Protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination and violence
We, students fighting against sexual assault and domestic violence at the University of Delaware, stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and students with disabilities. We demand equitable treatment of these students by the University.
Several instances of violence and discrimination towards LGBTQ+ students have highlighted the need for the University to protect these students. The University has allowed staff to knowingly misgender students. A few years ago, a gay student was brutally assaulted and beaten at a frat party, and the University did not adequately respond to this incident. We demand the Title IX office handle any incident of harassment, discrimination, or violence against students based on thier gender identity or sexual orientation. We demand all University staff be required to refer to students using the correct personal pronouns to the best of their ability. We as a student body need to be notified of violent incidents on or around campus in a timely manner.
XIV.) Protect BIPOC students from discrimination and violence
Black, indigenous, Asian American, Hispanic, and other students of color regularly experience harassment and discrimination on the University of Delaware’s majority white campus. Recently, a vandal painted a racial slur onto a student’s off campus house. We demand the Title IX office handle any case of harassment, discrimination, or violence against BIPOC students. We demand the University Campus be free of hate speech towards students of color.
University of Delaware’s Report to the Attorney General’s Office:
UD Title IX Policies:
Federal Title IX Laws: