A Message from July 30, 2020
Every two years Loyola conducts a campus climate survey to ask students to share about their experiences related to sexual violence prevention and response. This year for the first time the University also collected qualitative responses as part of the survey, and some of the comments that students shared around their experiences and their peers’ experiences were deeply troubling. Loyola students and alumni have also been sharing their thoughts about past experiences with gender-based violence in emails, conversations with University leaders, and on social media.
As we analyze the results of our survey this summer and listen to the voices of those who are reaching out to us, we are working to assess and address the policies and processes that may contribute to these experiences. Every member of our community should feel safe and supported and feel that our processes are fair, impartial, and provide for robust supportive measures.
We are committed to taking the following steps as we move forward:
- Conduct a comprehensive review of Loyola’s Title IX policies and process: We will work with a nationally recognized expert to review Loyola’s sexual misconduct policies and processes and provide feedback for changes as appropriate.
- Identify the funding and hire an additional full-time Title IX professional: The University plans to add an additional full-time Title IX professional to strengthen our work toward outreach, education, and training for our students, faculty, staff, and administrators; and, to further assess our processes toward our goal of continuous improvement. Our target goal for that person to begin in the role is July 2021.
- Establish Title IX Intake Officers: We will establish Title IX intake officer roles and responsibilities. The intake officers, who will receive extensive training in working with those experiencing trauma, will take initial incident reports, arrange supportive measures, and assist with the formal report process.
- Survey students about their Title IX experience: We will develop a process to survey all students who interact with Title IX deputies and intake officers with continuous feedback and improvements as appropriate.
- Establish an advisory board of students: This board, which would have an established charter and measurable goals, would assist with prevention education, bystander intervention training, and suggestions and partnerships for improvements for programming.
- Reconvene the coordinated community response team (CCRT): The CCRT would work on community messages, website presence, FAQs, videos, and a guided process for reporting. The CCRT will also discuss and help communicate with the community the new Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy based on new federal Title IX regulations that go into effect on Aug. 14.
- Review and improve training for certain groups: We will continue to provide additional and specialized officer training on responding to reports of sexual misconduct and working with those experiencing related trauma for the department of public safety, while also enhancing training for mandated reporters across the University. We will also provide additional training and education for student-athletes and review and improve other training and education.
- Enhance the Women’s Center: We will rewrite the Women’s Center mission statement to be more welcoming to all gender identities.
We have created a page within the Title IX website, where we can continue to keep you informed on our action steps and update our progress toward completing them.
We want to assure you that Loyola is committed to providing an environment free from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual and gender-based violence. We work to prevent and eliminate gender-based discrimination and harassment and encourage healthy, safe and respectful relationships through education, training, and policies, while also offering support and resources to students. We go beyond compliance with federal laws around gender-based violence, and we aspire to provide an environment that is rooted in our Jesuit traditions of justice and respect for others.
Beginning next month, as we implement the new Title IX regulations, we will also exceed the requirements in ways that reflect our Jesuit values, including adjudicating off-campus sexual misconduct, and using the preponderance of the evidence standard. We will protect the interests of all students regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other protected classes.
We invite you to share ideas or concerns about this topic. You may also contact Melissa Lees, sexual violence prevention, education, and response coordinator, who is a confidential resource, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Professionals at the University are available and prepared to speak with any student or community member who would like to share their experiences, concerns, or report an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other forms of sexual misconduct. An online reporting form to report incidents of sexual misconduct is also available. Anonymous reports can also be submitted on this form, but the University’s ability to investigate or act upon anonymous reports may be limited.
We have much work to do as we continue to address this issue within our community, strive to have the best processes and resources in place and to continuously improve, and work to ensure that all of our students are safe. Thank you to all those who are joining us in our commitment to living out our Jesuit ideals in word and action.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., President
Donelda Cook, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Development