New sexual assualt policy improves reporting process

On Sept. 17, 2015, Dean Joe DiChristina, SGA President Max Le Merle, and SGA Vice-President Josh Frank ’16 held a discussion on Trinity College’s Trinity College Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy. This was an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn about the recent changes made to the policy and voice their questions, comments, and concerns. Although very few members of the Trinity community attended, there were many important topics addressed and many questions answered.
One of the first major changes to policy is that it is now a universal policy. This means that the policy applies to every single person – employees, whether administrators or faculty, and students who are a part of the College.
Next, beginning on page three of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Trinity added definitions of all words related to sexual misconduct that may be unclear. This is in hopes that there will be no confusion as to what one thing or another could mean.
The reporting protocols and confidentiality beginning on Page 1 are another new addition to the policy. As stated, “This section describes the various reporting and disclosure options available and the associated confidentiality implications. Because of their role at Trinity College, some employees are able to maintain a higher degree of confidentiality, but most employees are required to report all relevant details of an alleged incident to other College officials who may be responsible for initiating, investigating, and adjudicating a complaint. The distinctions between these groups are explained below so that individuals can make informed choices about how and where they seek help and guidance.”
As stated on Page 15, Trinity has trained eight people on campus as investigators. They have been trained by an outside individual on how to handle the cases. These investigators are from a variety of offices on campus such as the Dean of Students office, HR department, and Campus Safety. Once an incident is brought to the attention of the administration, they are responsible for investigating it. Should there ever be a conflict of interest between the investigator and the incident, the College has ensured us that they will hire an outside source to continue the investigation instead.
The last major change to the policy is in regards to a hearing for a sexual misconduct case. Rather than having a hearing with a panel of students and faculty, it is now going to be strictly an administration pane that would make the decision.
As stated on page 21, “the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will convene and charge an Administrative Panel of three College employees, in a closed session, to determine whether the findings, as presented in the investigative report, violate College policy.”
The last and somewhat major point that Dean DiChristina wanted to make clear was that there is a person of contact at the Hartford Police Department who is assigned to work with Trinity on sexual misconduct cases.
Le Merle and Frank hope to hold more discussions similarly to these in order to give members of the Trinity community the opportunity to educate themselves and discuss such an important topic.

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