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UM System revises collected rules and regulations to strengthen response to sexual discrimination

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Christian Basi

September 23, 2014

Revisions create a more comprehensive sex discrimination policy for all, equity resolution process for all discrimination cases when students are accused

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri System announced today revisions to the university’s Collected Rules and Regulations (CRRs) to help promote the University of Missouri’s four campuses as environments where students, faculty and staff are safe and secure.  The amended rules are revised under delegated authority of the president by the University of Missouri Board of Curators, and include updated policies in the areas of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and student conduct procedures.

Today’s revision in policy also marks the culmination of the work of the mental health and sexual assault task force established by UM System President Tim Wolfe last January, which was created to inventory and review all resources on the four UM System campuses available to a victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault as well as related mental health services, and make recommendations for any necessary revisions to those resources or policies. Policy recommendations include today’s and earlier revisions to the university’s CRRs, and resource recommendations that will be announced in the coming days.

 “Earlier this year, I directed the chancellors to lead comprehensive reviews of the resources, policies and practices on their respective campuses in terms of sexual assault education, prevention and reporting, as well as mental health services,” said University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe. “Through the work of that task force, we have identified actions we need to take to ensure that our four campuses foster an environment that is free of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, so that our students in particular may fully participate in and benefit from the college experience. Our revisions to our collected rules are another step in our commitment to address the challenging, societal issue of sexual misconduct.”

The revisions to the CRRs announced today will assist the university in promoting a campus community that is free of discrimination while ensuring the existence of a process for addressing such complaints that is fair and appropriate for all students. Significant revisions include:

  • Clarifying that the university’s prohibitions against sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct apply to students, employees, volunteers and visitors (new Chapter 600, “Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity,” Section 600.020);
  • Clarifying definitions of sex discrimination to be consistent with existing law and best practices (Sections 600.020.c.1-6 and 200.010B.7);
  • Simplifying requirements for mandated reporters, making it mandatory for any employee of the university that becomes aware of sex discrimination to report all information to the Title IX coordinator (unless expressly exempted from doing so) (Section 600.020.E.);
  • Creating a new equity resolution process for all discrimination claims when the accused is a student or student organization, with equity resolution hearing panelists for discrimination claims being trained administrators or staff appointed by the chancellor (Section 200.025.B.9, G.6.a.); and
  • Removing current rules on sexual harassment and positive work environment (currently 330.060 and 330.080 respectively) and substituting this new set of rules.

The complete list of CRR revisions can be accessed at: http://umurl.us/KRhw

“As the state’s public, land-grant higher education institution, it is imperative that our four campuses set a national example in terms of how we address the challenging issue of sexual misconduct, which is exactly the goal of the University of Missouri System,” said President Wolfe. “We want other colleges and universities across the nation to look to the University of Missouri as the model of how we prioritize and ensure the safety of all of our students, faculty and staff.”

Today’s revisions to the university’s CRRs are the latest initiative undertaken by the UM System during 2014 to address the issue of sexual misconduct on its campuses. In addition to the mental health and sexual assault task force work, the president issued an executive order last April making it mandatory for all university employees to report to the Title IX coordinator any allegation of sex discrimination. To assist with assessing all campus resources pertaining to sexual assault, and in training all university employees about their reporting responsibilities, the UM System also hired a nationally-known consultant, the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM), to provide guidance and consultation throughout the process.