Title IX office sees reporting increase

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Photo credit: Molly Putman

Reporting of campus Title IX cases, such as sexual harassment, assault, or other gender-related crimes, is up, according to Kevin Canderara, UA Title IX director. However, not all cases are quickly resolved. The longest case still under investigation has been open since early 2015.

Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 which mandates that individuals may not be discriminated against on the basis of sex or gender. The provisions of this law include equivalent spending on men and women’s athletics, as well as the investigation and handling of any gender-based discrimination or assault. The UAF Title IX office handles any report made regarding such incidents.

“All sexual assault or contact cases would be Title IX sexual misconduct cases, but not all Title IX sexual misconduct cases are sexual assault or contact cases,” Marmian Grimes, UAF spokeswoman, said.

Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, 80 sexual misconduct cases were reported to the UAF Title IX office. Of those 80 cases, only 18 were sexual assault cases.

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Photo credit: Molly Putman

Only one of those sexual assault cases proved to be founded, according to the Title IX office. No sexual assault cases were reported to the police during this time.

Four major sanctions were administered during the time period between July 2015 and June 2016; one suspension and three expulsions. All 80 cases reported between those dates have been concluded, but two cases remain open from before that period.

The remaining 17 unfounded sexual assault cases could have been left un-pursued for a number of reasons, including anything from a lack of evidence to the complainant no longer wanting to continue the investigation, Calderara said.

Major sanctions associated with sexual misconduct cases can include suspension or expulsion from the university while minor sanctions may include moving students to another dorm or administering a no contact policy between the complainant and respondent.

Sexual misconduct covers a wide range of things, from verbal sexual harassment to sexual assault and other types of interpersonal violence, according to Title IX guidelines.

Suspension and expulsion are accompanied with banishment from campus for the amount of time associated with the punishment. The numbers of campus bans in place for UAF fluctuate too often to nail down a specific number, however there are often more than 100 bans in place at any given time, according to campus police. Only one to two percent of those trespasses are related to sexual violence or harassment, according to police.

Between July 1 and Oct. 31, 2016, 28 sexual misconduct cases have been reported to the Title IX office. Of those cases, 20 have been concluded and eight remain under investigation.

Twelve of those cases were sexual assault cases with only one founded and five unfounded. Four of these cases were reported to the campus police station. No major sanctions have been administered for any of these cases.

“The sanctions may or may not be related to the reported cases during the same time period,” Grimes said. “For example, if a case were reported on June 15, 2016, it would show up in the “cases reported” section for that year, but if that case resulted in a suspension or expulsion, that may not show up until the following year.”

Title IX cases on campus between 2011 and 2014 were not handled correctly, with no sanctions being carried out on offenders.

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