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Student government holds tri-campus Title IX Town Hall

| Wednesday, March 31, 2021

During Tuesday’s Title IX Town Hall meeting held by the Notre Dame student government, Title IX board members and coordinators from the tri-campus community gathered to discuss the impact of new Title IX regulations. In light of recent Title IX changes came noteworthy alterations to the regulations and procedures in place on each campus.

Michael Colonna, a senior equity specialist at the University, noted the two primary ways these new provisions have altered the way universities have to respond to sexual harassment complaints. He said the provisions change the scope of Title IX and the procedures governing Title IX complaints.

He continued by highlighting the implications brought upon the University by these new regulations on Title IX procedures.

The University has modified its process for addressing concerns of sexual harassment by employees, as such concerns must now be addressed through the new regulations’ formal process.

In addition, the University has developed processes to address student conduct concerns that do not fit within the narrowed definition of sexual harassment. The University may still address actions that fall outside these new limits through non-Title IX policies, Colonna said.

Colonna emphasized to students the need for formal complaints to be filed by either the complainant or the Title IX coordinator. Third parties cannot file a formal complaint on someone’s behalf.

According to Colonna, another important development is that all evidence and testimony is subject to cross-examination, including anything provided by the complainant, respondent or witnesses. 

The Town Hall also shed light on the main points of impact concerning the definitions of “regulatory Title IX,” “regulatory” complainants and “regulatory” alternative resolutions.

The University will still address all concerning behavior, but the definition of “regulatory Title IX” has narrowed. As for regulatory complainants, they must now file a formal complaint and participate in a hearing.

Colonna mentioned that alternative resolution is not allowed for situations where the respondent is a faculty or staff member and the complainant is a student.

Toward the end of the Town Hall, the speakers discussed considerations in student cases by addressing student concerns about other violations regarding parietals and alcohol.

The Title IX coordinators said students have anonymity when reporting incidents or situations that took place in an environment not adhering to the campus’ policies and guidelines. They encouraged students to speak up when witnessing an incident with the motto see something, say something.

Saint Mary’s Title IX coordinator Nicole Hundt mentioned the same changes to the procedures and regulations at Saint Mary’s. She reiterated the need for complainants to file a formal complaint in order to take the necessary legal actions. Hundt also noted the resources available to Saint Mary’s students.

Dean and vice president of student life at Holy Cross Andrew Polaniecki commented on the thorough presentation, noting the importance of having individuals on campus to whom students can report in order to ensure proper action is taken.

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