UO Senate work group meets to lay out groundwork for permanent mandatory reporting policy
A group of ten faculty, staff and students, under the leadership of UO law professor Merle Weiner, met August 25 to start tackling the new mandatory reporting policy.
The work group is working on a tight timeline, Weiner said. Ideally, it will have to come up with a rough draft of the policy by September 28 to present to the UO Senate Executive. The changes in policy have to be presented to the Senate body by October 19 and must have the permanent policy passed by November 19. This gives the group roughly less than a month to write up a policy that not only aligns with Title IX but also protects students, newly named Title IX Coordinator Darci Heroy said at the meeting.
The work group includes Weiner, Heroy, Director of 90by30 and co-director of the UO Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect Phyllis Barkhurst, psychology professor Jennifer Freyd and economics professor and Senate president Bill Harbaugh. Two students, representing undergraduates and graduate students, were also at the meeting. UO law professor John Bonine also sat in the meeting.
UO President Michael Schill signed off on the interim mandatory reporting policy on August 18, starting the 180 day deadline for the Senate to draft a new policy.
At this first meeting, the group talked about the history of the policy and reasons for the new one. The group will, once again, focus on defining when UO knows, or reasonably should know, of sexual harassment and defining responsible reporters.
The group also laid down some principles to keep its focus further on in the process–ideas such as, “do no harm,” “protect academic freedom,” “survivors and their needs are diverse,” “policy needs to be grounded to the reality,” and “to recognize the survivors are adults that can make their own decisions.”
Heroy said the current interim policy was written with good intentions, but “was rushed towards the end.”
Freyd suggested the work group is not trying to address all of the problems, but is focusing on core issues that were brought up during Senate meetings in May.
The work group will also be focusing on how to educate students and faculty on the policy, as most people don’t even know about it, Freyd said at the meeting.
The group is planning to meet at least once a week, Weiner said. It also plans to hold a public forum to get student feedback on the matter during the first week of fall term.