Earlham’s Sexual Misconduct Miscommunication

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Earlham’s Sexual Misconduct Miscommunication

On March 5, 2019, the Public Safety Department emailed a timely warning about a sexual assault that had reportedly occurred on March 1. Timely warnings are required under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or Clery Act, according to that email.

Clery Act is separate from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a federal law that prevents sex-based discrimination at federally-funded educational institutions. Clery Act determines the content of the Annual Security and Safety Report, while Title IX determines much of what is outlined in Earlham’s Policy on Sex/Gender Harassment, Discrimination, and Misconduct.

The disciplinary steps taken for sexual misconduct are detailed separately in Earlham’s Students Standards of Community Respect, formerly called Student Code of Conduct. On top of that, Earlham has a booklet entitled A Resource Guide for Considering your Options, which includes information on who to contact after someone has experienced sexual assault and what steps will be taken if that person chooses to file a report.

All of these policies and resources being stated in multiple and varying spots online has led to some discrepancies in the information. Specifically, Selina Hoque, as of March 27th, 2019, was still featured on many documents and Earlham web-pages. She had previously served as the college’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator but left in late 2018.

Hoque’s contact was still listed on the Confidential Resources for Survivors of Sexual Violence webpage. Now, Stephanie Bishop, Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, is listed on the page as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, a position that she does not occupy and one which is yet to be filled after Hoque’s departure. Bishop’s name was not previously listed on this site.

Hoque’s contact was additionally listed on the Student Consumer Complaint Process webpage. It is still there now. Bishop’s contact information is not.

The Policy on Sex/Gender Harassment, Discrimination, and Misconduct also featured Hoque’s name as of March 26th as the Assistant Director of Human Resources and a trained member of the investigative team. This is the policy dictated by Title IX in which sexual misconduct is defined.

Hagi Bradley, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, said of Hoque’s name being listed, “The website is run by marketing and communications.” He continued, “We don’t have the ability ourselves to update the website.”

Bishop said of the same issue, “We can ask for that to get corrected. We should do that right away.”

Christopher Little, the new Director of Public Safety, said of changing information on the website, “We send it over to Dave Knight to make the changes as it pertains to public safety.” Knight is Earlham’s web content manager.

Hoque’s name has since been removed from the policy, and Christopher Little’s name has been added.

On Bishop’s contact page on Earlham’s website, she is not listed as Title IX coordinator, but only as the Director of Human Resources. She is listed as Title IX coordinator in the Policy on Sex/Gender Harassment, Discrimination, and Misconduct.

Shane Peters, Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, said, “I think it’s a very good suggestion even to see what we can do to have one page on the web where these things are all right there.”

Bishop also spoke about a desire to consolidate information, saying, “One of the things that I think we need to do work on is concentrating all the Title IX resources and information in one link online that is clearly labeled Title IX, because right now, you find it in five or six different places.”

Bishop continued, “I think, resource-wise, if you’re looking for Title IX information, you probably want to have that in a pretty succinct way, because you’re likely in a situation where you’re in a sensitive place and you want it to be easy for the students, and you want it to be easy for the support persons of those students, to be able to find everything.”

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