Curators approve Title IX procedures amendments

The changes include new procedures for faculty and staff members accused of Title IX violations.
University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe speaks to an audience Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. In his report on Title IX, Wolfe said that the system had a "wakeup call" that prompted reform on the way Title IX cases are handled by universities.

New regulations to handle discrimination complaints against MU faculty and staff members were approved by the UM System Board of Curators by a unanimous vote Thursday.

The changes primarily address Title IX procedures for faculty and staff members who have been accused of sexual harassment, misconduct or discrimination.

A new collected rule, 600.040, creates a specific equity resolution process for accusations against a faculty member. The rule states that a complaint can be resolved through administration, mediation or a three-member hearing panel, or it can be dismissed if the faculty member is not found responsible.

The other new rule, 600.050, clarifies the procedures for Title IX complaints made against any UM System staff member. The process for investigating staff-related cases is simpler than for faculty cases and includes a thorough investigation before a decision is made by the Equity HR Officer and the employee’s supervisor.

The curators also voted to amend several existing rules. In section 310.020, which specifies tenure regulations, the requirement for a faculty member’s dismissal was changed from “extreme or repeated sexual harassment or racial, gender or other discriminatory practices” to a more broad definition of “harassment or discrimination in violation of the university’s anti-discrimination policies.”

Another change to the section clarifies that term appointments for nontenured faculty can be terminated before the expiration of the stated term through the equity resolution process for complaints.

An amendment to section 310.060, which discusses dismissal of faculty members, clarifies that the procedure for dismissing a tenured faculty member culminates in a decision made by the Campus Faculty Committee on Tenure.

Grievance procedures in sections 370.010, 380.010 and 390.010 were amended to clarify the specific situations to which the equity resolution process applies.

President Wolfe’s Report

UM System President Tim Wolfe presented a report on the state of Title IX issues in the UM System. Wolfe said the university is working toward its goal of changing campus culture and becoming a national model for Title IX.

“We had a wakeup call, and we responded,” he said. “We need to implement strategic prevention programs across the system.”

Wolfe said last year he asked the chancellors to examine Title IX on each campus and promised to invest in necessary resources. Since then, he said the administration has created a centralized website for Title IX resources and launched new training programs, including the Not Anymore program that will soon be launched at MU.

He said a collaborative team of faculty, staff and students discussed Title IX issues and that the system will continue to use this approach in the future.

“This represents the most innovative approach to handling these unfortunate situations in a fair and complete way,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe also said the UM System will conduct a climate survey of all students to evaluate their perceptions and prevalence of sexual misconduct, as well as perceptions of the university’s response and overall culture towards sexual misconduct.

“We owe it to students to have a safe and secure environment where sexual harassment and assault will not be tolerated,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to continue to challenge and ensure progress towards our goal of becoming a national example and moving the needle from good to great.”

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