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The Carletonian

Misconduct Policy introduced to public

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To comply with federal regulations and in response to student’s comments, Carleton is making changes to its sexual misconduct procedure and held a public presentation about the changes Wednesday night in the Alumni Guest House.

Students and faculty filled the room and spilled into the hallways. Participants had so many questions that the meeting went an hour over the scheduled time.

When the meeting coordinator ended the forum, she encouraged the sizable group still present to express their concerns and questions through other venues.

Members of the Title IX Lead Team, which includes Associate Dean of Students Julie Thornton, Sexual Misconduct Advisor Mary Dunnewold and Gender and Sexuality Center Director Laura Haave, explained the proposed changes and how the procedure currently works.

One change to the current system is the elimination of a written statement as the beginning of the procedure process.

Currently the complainant writes a statement that the respondent responds to as the beginning of the process, but this is being substituted for interviews with both parties.

In the slideshow presentation, the Title IX lead team showed how federal regulations affect Carleton’s policies and the differences between the legal system’s handling of sexual misconduct cases and the handling at higher education institutions like Carleton.

Some audience members asked how the sexual misconduct process is kept equitable when federal regulations require that involved parties be given the option of choosing their own attorneys.

The changes to the policy will more clearly state what attorneys, or any advisor to the process, can and cannot do to help.

However, Dunnewold said the real issue is bigger than just our school community. “I have visions of creating a non-profit lawyer organization to get a well-trained group we could draw on,” she said.

Students suggested that the school pay for legal representation in cases where the complainant can’t afford it, but the lead team argued that would not necessarily even out the process and would end up costing the school a significant amount of money.

Questions covered other topics such as how to prosecute a respondent who has a known pat- tern of dangerous behavior, but no complainant who wants to come forward, how the school handles cases when a complainant isn’t a student, but the respondent is, and the rights of minors during procedures.

Going forward, the Title IX Lead Team will address whether a respondent’s disciplinary history should be seen before or after the investigation reaches a verdict, and ways to make the process less taxing for complainants, according to their presentation.

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