|Actions: ||The Staff Affairs, Student Conduct, and Faculty Affairs Committees began reviewing the charge during the fall 2020 semester. Each committee reviewed the charge elements, the interim University Policy and Procedures, and the University System of Maryland (USM) Policy on Sexual Harassment (VI-1.60). The committees also reviewed background information and analysis of the DoE’s Final|
Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The committees compared UMD’s interim Procedures with similar procedures at Big 10 and peer institutions, comparing a number of different aspects in order to inform its thinking. Throughout their review of the charge, the committees consulted with key stakeholders groups, including representatives of University Human
Resources (UHR), the Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA), the Office of Student Conduct (OSC), the Office of Rights and Responsibilities in the Department of Resident Life, the Office of General Counsel (OGC), and the OCRSM. The committees also worked jointly to keep each other informed throughout the parallel process. The committees also reviewed feedback from campus stakeholders including CARE to Stop Violence (CARE), the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (SAPC), the Graduate Student Government (GSG), the GSG Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Preventing Sexual Assault (PSA), and the Student Government Association (SGA) Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee (SMP) and the Title IX Advisory Board.
The committees’ proposed revisions to the Procedures focus on enhancing clarity, accessibility, and understanding of the process. The regulations create legalistic structures and requirements that result in dense and difficult to follow language in the Procedures, which can undermine understanding and increase uncertainty. The committees found areas within the Procedures that could use more explanation, and developed more language to enhance understanding and reduce
anxiety about what to expect. The committees also made structural changes to allow readers to more easily navigate and reference specific items.
In the course of the review, the committees considered at length the changes within the interim procedures to the timeline, as well as changes that introduce a Hearing Officer and Appellate Hearing Officer, leading to the lack of a peer or community review in the process. The principle of peer review is fundamental to other processes at the University, and removing the peer or community approach by removing what was the Standing Review Committee (SRC) in the prior
Procedures and the Standing Review Committee Appellate Body in the prior Procedures was a significant concern for the committees. Likewise, the lengthy timeline raised significant concerns for the committees, in terms of the signal it sends to prospective participants. In both cases, through consultations with the Title IX Working Group, the committees found that the unique constraints of the regulations made changes to these aspects of the Procedures infeasible.
The committees developed a revised version of the Procedures in April 2021, and after due consideration, the Staff Affairs, Faculty Affairs, and Student Conduct Committees voted to approve the proposed revised Procedures via a google form concluding on April 26, 2021.