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Title IX campus updates

May 18, 2018

Dear campus community:

Over the past 10 weeks, the Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention has been reading, researching, discussing and learning. We want to share with campus that Husch-Blackwell, the third-party law firm hired to help us review our policies, completed their report and stated the following:

"In general, we conclude that Augustana has drafted and implemented a student-focused Title IX Policy on Sex Discrimination and Sexual Violence and related Policy Against Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct, and Other Interpersonal Misconduct with the intention of preventing sexual misconduct and addressing reports of sexual misconduct. Augustana should be commended for its efforts to prevent and redress sexual misconduct. Broadly speaking, the College has implemented a robust policy to address all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual violence."

However, the task force members know there is room for improvement and we want to be at the forefront of response and prevention. Based on the task force's work, the task force committee and community feedback, we are making several recommendations which have been endorsed by President Bahls. It's important to note that there will be several things that can be implemented quickly, while others may take more time or may be ongoing.

Here are some of the initial recommendations:

1) Internal work should be done to see how implementation impacts those the policy intends to serve.

2) Internal analysis on culture and climate should also be undertaken, asking the questions: Where are our weak points? Areas of improvement? Places where a culture that fosters misconduct and violence need to be dismantled? 

3) Build capacity to focus on education and foundation work, for example, hiring a director of student wellness.

4) Ongoing assessment for improvement, in partnership with the Sexual Health and Violence Prevention coordinator.

5) Transparency and communication — creating more frequent and/or student-centric summaries, including, but not limited to, updates to the Title IX web page.

6) Foster student leadership and involvement, enabling and promoting student involvement in the response and prevention of sexual misconduct.

This is not a conclusive list, though it highlights some broad areas of focus. This list provides us a framework for some immediate things that can begin this summer and into the fall term. 

Thank you to each of the members of the task force: Dr. Scott Gehler, Dr. Carrie Hough, Dr. Eric Stewart, Liesl Fowler, Michael Rogers, Ariel Rogers, Emilee Goad, Dr. Monica Smith, Anna Pfalzgraf, Kailtyn Watkins, Ravi Patel, Jaime McLean, and Sheri Curran. Our work is not done, but it is on track, and we are proud of the way the community has worked together to make Augustana an even better place. 

Task Force on Sexual Assault
Dr. Jennifer Popple, Chair


May 2, 2018

Dear campus community,

We want to thank all of you for your continued interest and desire to tackle the difficult and complex issue of sexual misconduct. What sprung from frustration, hurt and confusion is a campus that has come together for solutions, and we are grateful for the progress that's been made and what will come as a result of this work. The Task Force will provide you with a summary of our recommendations based on feedback from the campus community and the Husch-Blackwell policy report by the end of the academic year.

We want to assure everyone that the work is not ending and this will be a busy summer of reviews, implementation and discussions around next steps. Please feel free to continue reaching out to me, or any of the individuals on campus who are here to provide support. 

Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention

The Husch-Blackwell report on Title IX policies was received April 25. The Task Force will review the report and develop recommendations based on their analysis.  

The Student Advisory committee, made up of 20 students, has been meeting weekly since Week 6. They will submit their year-end report of suggestions, concerns and needs before finals week to the Task Force.

The Task Force launched an anonymous survey Week 8 in order to get additional community feedback. The survey will remain open until the end of Week 9 so if you have not yet responded, please do so at the link below. We want to gather as many responses as possible. The data will be confidentially analyzed and compiled in order to determine top priorities. 

Invitation to Provide Anonymous Feedback on Title IX and Sexual Assault Response and Prevention

In addition to the year-end community update, the Task Force will submit its final report to President Bahls, which will include the campus survey responses, Student Advisory Committee report and Husch-Blackwell report, by the end of the school year.

Campus Victim Advocacy Working Group

The Campus Victim Advocacy Working Group has drafted a proposal recommending Augustana consider implementing a campus victim advocacy program. This proposal is currently being reviewed by the Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention, Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Committee and Emilee Goad, interim sexual health and violence prevention coordinator, who will provide feedback. A final proposal will then be shared with President Bahls by the end of the academic year for review.

Emilee Goad, Interim Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator

Outside of the work the Task Force has done, Emilee brought the Start By Believing campaign to campus which had great student involvement. The campus also participated in Denim Day to raise awareness for sexual assault. Students, faculty and staff participated by learning why Denim Day was created and wore stickers in support on April 25th. Research on evidence-based prevention and education programs will continue in order to improve the work already established on campus.

Clery Reports

The college will be posting a set of guidelines clarifying under what circumstances the college is required to send notifications to the community related to emergencies and other threats. This will also include guidelines on voluntary notices that the college will send related to campus safety, even when not required by Clery.

Task Force on Sexual Assault
sexualassaulttaskforce@augustana.edu 

Dr. Jennifer Popple, Chair
jenniferpopple@augustana.edu


April 3, 2018

Dear Campus Community,

Since last month's update message to campus, various groups have been meeting on a weekly basis and moving through the timelines established to ensure progress is made. Please see the updates below. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me, or any of the faculty/staff named below. 

Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator

Emilee Goad, a counselor who specializes in working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, has begun work as the interim Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator. She is working in partnership through SafePath Survivor Resources of Family Resources. As part of President Bahls' charge, she is focusing on looking into Augustana's current bystander intervention program to see what opportunities there are to improve or add to it. She is also part of the Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention. Please feel free to visit her in Sorensen 254 or email her.

Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention

The Task Force has chosen Husch-Blackwell to analyze Augustana's Title IX policies and procedures. Their report will be submitted by May 1

The Task Force developed a framework and sign-up for the student advisory committee, which was emailed out to all students last Thursday. Applications are due this Thursday, April 5 by 5:00 p.m. The students chosen by the task force for the committee will be invited to the initial training by Husch-Blackwell on Title IX and will meet weekly beginning Week 6, with their work continuing into the 2018-2019 academic year. 

The Task Force is also developing an anonymous, open ended survey, to be sent out to all students, faculty and staff, in order to gain more input on questions, concerns and needs regarding Title IX, and response and prevention efforts surrounding sexual assault. This survey is being finalized and will be sent out in the near future. 

The Task Force welcomed two new members: Dr. Monica Smith, the new Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as Jaime McLean '18, who will provide administrative support.

Campus Victim Advocacy Working Group

The Campus Victim Advocacy Working Group, which consists of two faculty members, Dr. Lena Hann and Dr. Alex Cohen, and six students, has assembled a comparison of 20 peer institutions' victim advocacy programs. The group is currently evaluating best practices at those schools within relevant literature about victim advocates on college campuses. The next step will be to draft a proposal to share with the Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Committee, Title IX team, and the Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention before preparing a final proposal.

Jennifer Popple
-----------------
Jennifer E. Popple, PhD.
Theatre and Women & Gender Studies
Augustana College, Rock Island, IL
309-794-7171
 


March 9, 2018

Dear campus community,

Work has begun on the various initiatives set forth in February to address issues around sexual assault on campus. To keep you updated, I will share updates monthly for the remainder of the academic year. We are grateful for the many people involved in these processes and groups, and everyone across campus, who is dedicating their time and making a concentrated effort toward creating a better Augustana. 

Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator

Emilee Goad, a 2011 Augustana graduate who has been working with Family Resources Inc., has accepted the role as interim Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator. 

Task Force on Sexual Assault Response and Prevention

The Task Force met for the first time this week. The first step for the group will be to choose a nationally ranked law firm to help us analyze our Title IX policies and procedures. The Task Force will also be investigating other best practices in campus climate, prevention, and short and long term support for survivors. Emilee Goad will be joining the Task Force beginning with our Week 2 meeting. 

The Task Force also discussed the Student Advisory Committee, which will be headed by +Impact and made up of students who represent different constituencies on campus. A student member of the Task Force will serve as a liaison to that advisory committee, which will be forming over the next couple of weeks.  

Student Advocacy Group

The student advocacy group has an official name – the Campus Victim Advocacy Working Group. The group has its first meeting this afternoon. Dr. Alex Cohen is co-advising the process with Dr. Lena Hann.
Please contact any of the members of the Task Force if you have questions or items you would like discussed at upcoming meetings. 

Jennifer Popple
-----------------
Jennifer E. Popple, PhD.
Theatre and Women & Gender Studies
Augustana College, Rock Island, IL
309-794-7171


Feb. 13, 2018

Dear campus community,

This email is to provide both an update and express gratitude. Many people have mobilized to begin moving forward on the many charges and initiatives that have been discussed over the past couple of weeks. While much work has begun, there is still more on the horizon. Thank you to everyone for your efforts.

Task force

The task force charge is available on the Augustana website. Dr. Jennifer Popple has been named as the faculty chair of the task force. Names of appointees have been added.

The task force will have its first meeting during week 1 of spring term. At that time, the process of selecting an expert firm to review our policies and implementation will begin. The advisory panel to the task force is still being assembled and seeks to have a broad range of representation from various on-campus groups.

Clery Act

The college’s general counsel has been asked to review our policies and procedures related to the Clery Act, and to identify how we might meet communication expectations of the community while remaining compliant with legal requirements.

Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator

A new interim position has been created - Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Coordinator. A permanent position will be created after the president receives the task force’s report.

Student Advocacy Group

The response from staff, faculty and students to move this forward has been tremendous. Thank you to Laura Ford, Jessica Schultz, SafePath and +IMPACT for leading these conversations. It has been determined that +IMPACT along with faculty advisor Dr. Lena Hann will work to establish a student advocacy group. Dr. Hann is also seeking another faculty member to help with the group. Please email her if you’re interested.

Please continue to check augustana.edu/student-life/TitleIX for more updates as they become available.

Dr. Gail L. Summer
Provost and Dean of the College
Augustana College
639 38th St.
Rock Island, Ill., 61201