CLARIFICATION: Due to a production error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated in the headline that the Title IX committee is a Board of Governors committee. It is a subcommittee of the UNC system. The headline has been udpated. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
The Clery/Title IX Oversight Committees Subcommittee of the Campus Security Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss recommendations that UNC-system campuses establish Clery Act oversight committees and Title IX response teams. These recommendations were originally outlined in the 2014 Campus Security Initiative.
Title IX prohibits gender discrimination within any educational program receiving federal assistance and the Clery Act requires federally funded universities to release campus crime and security statistics.
System campuses already have Title IX offices and partners working on independent casework, such as incident reporting. Regardless, creating these additional committees would make a difference, said Edward Purchase, a University public safety operator and Clery Act coordinator.
“There is no shortage of work to keep a Clery committee busy,” Purchase said. “’It takes a village,’ is the operative term.”
Clery Act oversight committees and Title IX response teams would theoretically help campuses coordinate between separate partners and better organize efforts to comply with these federal mandates.
Purchase plans to host training programs to help campuses and their partners establish Clery Act oversight committees next October.
Several committee members expressed concerns that these programs would overlap too much with groups already fulfilling similar roles referred to by different terminology. Members agreed they would need to clarify whether response teams and committees would be focused solely on managerial oversight or also on active responses.
Ronette Sutton Gerber, the director of Title IX and Clery compliance at UNC-Pembroke, said she would work with committee members if these programs were established but would not take direction from them.
“I share information with them. I communicate with them. We have some give and take,” Gerber said. “But the term ‘oversight,’ hovering over me and questioning what I do and how I do it, is not the language that I would use.”
Some members mentioned the need to establish clearer definitions of the committees’ and response teams’ roles. To do so, the committee’s immediate plan is to send out surveys to system campuses.
These surveys will specifically target Title IX and Clery coordinators to determine campus’ self-identified needs and any programs already being implemented. Survey questions would also gather specific information about which campuses already have response teams and oversight committees and analyze how their roles overlap. Campus Security Committee members hope to circle back with enough data by their next meeting.
A decision must also be made about how these directives will be delivered to system campuses. Options include issuing an executive order or more lenient policy recommendations.
As of right now, little has been officially decided, but members recognize the flexibility in the Campus Security Initiative’s original terminology. They hope their survey research will help them create a clearer definition of the committees’ and response teams’ intended roles.
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