A Picture is Worth 636,229 Words

By: Leah M. Naso, Executive Director for Equity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator, Moravian College

Tip of the Week

For many of us in the education field, wrapping our heads around the 639,229 words in the new Title IX regulations is a challenging and ongoing process to say the least. Not only do we need to understand our new policy and process (or processes if you are using the ATIXA 1P2P model), but we need to be able to explain it to others in order to administer it effectively and avoid litigation.

This understanding must start with training our process stakeholders, from advisors to investigators to decision-makers. In order to have appropriate separation of duties and reduce conflict of interest under the new regs, many of the individuals filling these roles will be brand new and can range from faculty/staff volunteers to external contractors. The orientation to this new process is far more significant and nuanced than ever before — and this is just among those with a stake in executing it. The better they understand it and can explain it, the more it will help administrators in messaging to parties in the process and to the campus community in general. This became particularly critical for my campus because my student development colleagues (the ones with the most existing process knowledge) are no longer administering the student hearing process as it transitions to equity and compliance.

Outside of the civil rights team, the parties themselves face an even more significant learning curve. When to use Process A or Process B is confusing at best, and it falls on Title IX Coordinators to be able to determine this jurisdiction — and to explain it in a simple and straightforward way that makes sense to the parties. While already difficult for the average first year student to comprehend, with the 106.45 live hearing requirement for employees, there is a new need for understanding among classifications of employees who can range anywhere from a 3rd grade reading level to a Harvard PhD (and we all know that both present their own inherent challenges). And now more than ever, we need to be thinking about inclusive resources.

Unveiling your institutional 1P2P (or its equivalent) to campus leadership and community members more generally also requires careful consideration of what level of detail to share. With a Process A that is inherently more adversarial, it is critically important not to overwhelm or create additional barriers to reporting. As educators, we also know that all learners have preferred learning styles. On my small civil rights team alone, I have folks who are policy junkies and can clearly envision a process from words on a page, others who learn best from shadowing or doing, and others who are visual learners and prefer charts or diagrams. I have found that starting with a basic diagram, walking through it step by step, and referencing relevant language from the policy can be an effective way to incorporate multiple learning modalities, particularly during intake with the parties or training stakeholders.

As I was beginning to explain the new process over the past few months, I found myself with limited resources that seemed either way too simplistic or way too complex and decided to create a more balanced visual that captures the grievance process from 30,000 feet. For reference, the diagram includes the goals we uphold throughout the process and the new factors in determining 106.45 jurisdiction, listed in an order (in my opinion) that allows the “easier” jurisdictional questions to be answered first (the factors also align with ATIXA’s jurisdictional rubric online tool). Our next effort will be to make it more accessible and available in multiple languages. While, knock on wood, I have not had to use it yet for the intake of a formal complaint, I am hopeful that when I do, it will become a helpful tool in our toolkit- and in yours!