A duty to act

New Title IX policies require faculty to report sexual violence against students

Recent policy changes made in regards to reporting sexual misconduct to the Title IX office have caused mixed reactions around campus.

According to the Ferris website, “Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex. Sexual violence in all its forms is harassment based on sex and a violation of federal law under Title IX.”

Therefore, the university has an obligation to act when students report instances of sexual misconduct committed against them. Part of that obligation includes Responsible Employees.

All employees at Ferris, with the exception of Birkam Health Center and Personal Counseling Center staff, are considered Responsible Employees, Ferris Title IX Coordinator Kaitlin Zies said.

Responsible Employees must report cases where they know or suspect that a student has experienced sexual harassment or violence.

A reminder was recently sent out to university employees to remind them of their reporting duties. It included a one-page overview of Responsible Employee obligations and information brochures about the misconduct reporting process, Zies said.

Ferris business administration sophomore Logan Newman said that the Responsible Employee reporting obligation seems like a good policy.

“I think it might be a good thing because honestly, you never know. Sometimes diving into others’ business might not be the best idea, but if you really think it’s for their best interest, or if you think it’s going to evolve into a bigger situation, then it probably needs to be brought to attention,” Newman said.

The Ferris website states that individuals filing complaints may request to be anonymous, which in some cases may be maintained to ensure safety, but in other cases, due process may require that the accused individual receive notice of the source of the allegations against them.

The potential for no anonymity sparked student concern about the reporting process.

“I think it’s good, but then again, I think it’s bad because what if the person who did it goes after them? They should try to keep it anonymous,” Ferris computer technology sophomore Sierra Farris said.

Some students felt that if a complainant knew their report would not be anonymous, it would discourage them from reporting at all.

“It might add pressure on the person that is reporting because if they know that it won’t be confidential or anonymous, it would probably scare them a little bit,” Newman said.