View Bill 20-21-08

Senate Bill 20-21-08

Bill ID: 20-21-08
Name: Interim University of Maryland Procedures on Sexual Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct
Proposed: 08/13/2020
Sponsor: The President's Office
Proposal: The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) developed new Title IX regulations that were required to be instituted by all universities by August 14, 2020. The University System of Maryland (USM) revised the University System of Maryland Policy on Sexual Harassment in July 2020. All system institutions were tasked with revising their policies to align with the USM policy and the new Title IX regulations by August 14, 2020. The Title IX Director formed a small working group to revise the University's policy. President Pines amended and approved the revised policy and procedures on an interim basis on August 14, 2020 pending Senate review.
Active?Yes
Policy: https://policies.umd.edu/assets/section-vi/VI-160A.pdf

Status

Status: Completed
Completed On: 05/10/2021

History

Approval(s):
Presidential Approval: 05/10/2021
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Reviewed By: Senate
Received: 04/27/2021
Decision Date: 05/04/2021
Decision: The Senate voted to approve the proposal.
Next Step: Presidential Approval
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Reviewed By: Senate Executive Committee (SEC)
Received: 04/26/2021
Decision Date: 04/27/2021
Decision: The SEC voted to place the item on the agenda of the May 4, 2021 Senate meeting for consideration.
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Reviewed By: Faculty Affairs Committee and Staff Affairs Committee and Student Conduct Committee
Received: 08/19/2020
Decision Date: 04/26/2021
Decision: 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.
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.
Next Step: SEC Review
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Reviewed By: Senate Executive Committee (SEC)
Received: 08/13/2020
Decision Date: 08/19/2020
Decision: The SEC voted to charge the Faculty Affairs, Staff Affairs, and Student Conduct Committees jointly with review of the procedures portion of the interim policy and procedures.
Next Step: Faculty Affairs, Staff Affairs, and Student Conduct Committee Review
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