UPDATE: Title IX external review firm identified and anonymous external reporting link is live

Cozen O’Connor is the external firm conducting the expanded review. They’ve set-up a webpage where anyone wishing to report inappropriate interactions anonymously may do so by clicking here.

 

From: Michael S. Roth
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 5:35 PM
Subject: Campus Update

Dear friends,

Since the news last week that former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer had been arrested, we’ve sought and received feedback to guide our next steps. Though the alleged incident leading to this arrest occurred some time after Mr. Backer had been terminated from Wesleyan, it has nevertheless created anguish among survivors and prompted renewed scrutiny of his conduct here. As I’ve said before, I am sorry that Wesleyan ever hired this man, and that had he not lied about his previous conduct, the university never would have done so. I deeply regret the pain that this has caused many members of our community.

Last year when we became aware of Mr. Backer’s history and promptly fired him, we brought in a leading national outside firm to audit the Title IX cases with which he had been involved. The auditors found that he had followed the university’s policies and procedures in his handling of thesecases. Given recent developments, we’ve decided to extend the independent review by professionals in the field.

Again, we also want to hear from any member of the Wesleyan community who wishes to report inappropriate interactions with Mr. Backer. Wesleyan community members will have the option of reporting to the firm, either anonymously or not, or to Debbie Colucci in the Office for Equity & Inclusion. Contact information and updates will be posted on the Equity@Wesleyan website. Information gathered from these interviews, in addition to the recommendations from the Victim Rights Law Center, will help us to improve our policies and procedures going forward. We will also share information with law enforcement as appropriate. The resulting report will be made public, while protecting individual confidentiality, in the fall semester.

I take our responsibility to protect our students and employees extremely seriously, and I am fully committed to promoting a campus free from sexual assault and harassment. You may direct any questions about the review to me or to Debbie Colucci at dcolucci@wesleyan.edu.

Yours truly,
Michael S. Roth
President

Next Steps: Title IX

Dear campus community,

The Title IX assessment previously posted on the Equity & Inclusion website has been converted into a working flow chart that parses out each individual recommendation or area of concern and assigns responsibility and timelines.  Please note, this is a working document subject to changes in priorities as the various campus offices and Title IX committees continue to work on the recommendations. Faculty, staff, and students continue to be part of this thoughtful and deliberative process, as they have from the beginning.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly.

Sincerely,
Antonio Farias
VP for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX and Sec 504 Officer

Title IX External Assessment

Dear campus community,

Please follow this link to access the full report from the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC).  The report was generated with the robust participation of faculty, staff, and students who took part in the two-day onsite visit by VRLC February 8-9, 2017. A strategy for engaging with the recommendations is currently being developed, one that continues to include, as well as increase representation from across the campus and local community. If you have immediate questions, please don’t hesitate to call or stop by.

With gratitude,
Antonio Farias
VP for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX and Sec. 504 Officer

Updated DACA & Immigration Resources

Dear Wesleyan Community,

For those unable to attend the February 17th Know Your Rights session, individual legal consolation session, and the CT Students for a Dream Activist Workshop, please avail yourselves of the posted resources linked below.  The DACA/Immigration Committee will continue to meet, plan, and communicate relevant and pragmatic information designed to support impacted campus community members as well as those that are interested in championing fundamental human rights and dignity.

With gratitude, and on behalf of the entire committee,

Antonio Farias

Presentation PowerPoint: Know Your Rights Wesleyan

PDF Handout: Rights of Immigrants – 2017-V5

 

Title IX External Assessment Team Site Visit Feb 8-9, 2017

Dear Wesleyan Community,

As noted in the all-campus email you received, an external Title IX assessment team from the Victim’s Rights Law Center (VRLC) will be on campus February 8-9.  The comprehensive schedule is listed below. We have consulted with and listened carefully to the various campus community members and so the external assessment team has the expertise to work with faculty, staff, students – especially those from marginalized communities. Bios of the three-person team are forthcoming.  If you have questions about the site visit, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

With gratitude,

Antonio Farias
V.P. for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX and Sec. 504 Officer
Wesleyan University

 

VRLC Visit Team

Lindy Aldrich, Esq.

Deputy Director, Victim Rights Law Center

Lindy Aldrich has been with the VRLC since 2007, beginning as a staff attorney and becoming Deputy Director in 2010. Given that almost 50% of the VRLC’s clients are under the age of 24, Lindy and other VRLC staff attorneys work to ensure that sexual assault victims stay their educational course, including helping to curtail and ameliorate the often devastating impact of the assault on the victim’s safety, housing (dormitory or off-campus housing), employment (after school, on or off campus job), scholarship and extracurricular activities.

As a trainer on the VRLC’s national Technical Assistance grant, Lindy trains around the country on a number of topics including Title IX and Campus Sexual Assault Policies and Response. Lindy and other VRLC trainers remain at the forefront of this national discussion through consultations and trainings with state and national agencies, universities, and other legal service providers. She has been a Resource Team member and trainer for the OVW Campus Program Training and Technical Assistance Institute since 2010 and a recent presenter for the Project STOP NOW! conference for campus administrators from historically black colleges and universities. Lindy collaborates with the Clery Center for Security on Campus on webinars and conferences as a Title IX expert. In February 2014, Lindy was invited, by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, to lend her expertise on Title IX and victim confidentiality.  She is also an Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Training and Technical Assistance Center trainer and, in partnership with OVC, has delivered webinars and live chats on sexual violence and education. Lindy is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School.

 

Amanda Walsh, Esq.

Education Program Senior Attorney, Victim Rights Law Center

Amanda Walsh, Esq. returned to the VRLC in January 2017 as an Education Program Senior Attorney.  In this role, Amanda provides training and technical assistance to Office on Violence Against Women campus grantees.  From 2011-2015, Amanda was a VRLC staff attorney, focusing primarily on the representation of high school and college students who have been victims of sexual assault.  In addition to Title IX, Amanda represented clients seeking disability accommodations within the education setting and special education benefits under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  She also trained colleges and universities nationally on Title IX and campus sexual assault response.  Before returning to the VRLC, Amanda was the inaugural Title IX Program Officer at Brown University.  She was responsible for implementing Brown’s sexual and gender-based harassment and violence policy and complaint procedures, building Brown’s flagship Title IX Office, and overseeing all related complaint investigations.  In August 2014, Amanda was invited by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to lend her expertise on the unique issues facing K-12 sexual assault victims and their remedies under Title IX and IDEA.  In 2012, Amanda was recognized for her work in public interest and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award – Gold Level for her sustained commitment.  Amanda is a graduate of Northeastern University and Roger Williams University School of Law.

 

Candi N. Smiley, Esq.

Title IX Coordinator, Howard University

Candi N. Smiley, Esq. currently serves as the Title IX Coordinator for Howard University. Ms. Smiley coordinates the University’s response, prevention and education initiatives pursuant to Title IX and related statues and regulation. She also conducts and oversees investigations for complaints alleging sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination.  Ms. Smiley previously served as a corporate attorney working on various matters involving federal agencies, private corporations and non-profit organizations. She has been a dedicated volunteer with organizations committed to assisting individuals suffering with drug addiction, alcohol abuse and domestic violence.   Ms. Smiley received her Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

 

Wednesday, February 8
Time Location Group
8:00 – 9:00am Usdan 136 Debbie Colucci, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Antonio Farias, Title IX Officer
9:00 – 10:00am Usdan 136 Debbie Colucci, Investigator
Paul Verrillo, Investigator
Rick Culliton, Dean of Students
Kevin Butler, Assistant Dean of Students
10:00 – 11:00am Usdan 136 Administrative Hearing Panel members
11:00 – noon Usdan 136 Lunch with the Deans
Louise Brown, Class of ’17
Renee Johnson-Thornton, Class of ’18
Jennifer Wood, Class of ’19
David Phillips, Class of ’20
Laura Patey, Student Academic Resources
12:15 – 1:45pm Shanklin 107 All Campus Open Forum – Faculty, Staff, Student
2:00 – 3:00pm Usdan 136 CT Alliance / Women & Family Services Staff
3:00 – 4:30pm Usdan 136 TIX Core Committee*
4:30 – 5:00pm Usdan 136 TIX Student Advisory Committee*
Thursday, February 9
Time Location Group
8:00 – 9:00am Woodhead Lounge TIX Policy & Education Committees*
9:00 – 10:00am Woodhead Lounge TIX Athletic Committee* and coaches
10:15 – 10:45am Woodhead Lounge Angel Riddle, student Title IX web site
Rebecca Hutmann, WSA President
additional WSA students
10:45 – 11:45am Woodhead Lounge Women’s Faculty Caucus
11:45am – 12:45pm Woodhead Lounge Lunch with Residence Life Student Staff
1:00 – 2:00pm Woodhead Lounge Faculty Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (FCRR)
2:00 – 3:00pm Woodhead Lounge Academic Affairs
Joyce Jacobsen, Provost / VP Academic Affairs
Mark Hovey, Associate Provost
Sheryl Culotta, Associate Provost
Marc Eisner, Dean of  Social Sciences
Ellen Nerenberg, Dean of Arts & Humanities
Joe Knee, Dean of Natural Sciences & Math
3:15 – 4:15pm Woodhead Lounge Sexual Violence Resources
Alysha Warren, Therapist and SART Coord.
Lex Spirtes, SART Intern
Invited student survivors
4:15 – 5:15pm Woodhead Lounge Middletown Police: Captain Gary Wallace

Webinar: Hanging in the Balance: The Future of DACA and the Dreamers

Wes community, in order to continue to understand your rights under the changing immigration policies coming our of Washington, I encourage you to register for this important and timely webinar (free to register).

Hanging in the Balance:
The Future of DACA and the Dreamers

Click here to register/view
A discussion with:

Janet Napolitano
President, University of California,
and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Arizona

Donald Graham
Cofounder of TheDream.Us; Chairman, Graham Holdings;
and former CEO and Chairman, The Washington Post Co.

Ike Brannon
President, Capital Policy Analytics; Visiting Fellow, CATO Institute; former Chief Economist for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Republican Policy Committee, and Congressional Joint Economic Committee; and former Senior Economist, Office of Management and Budget

And moderated by:
Doris Meissner
Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI
Friday, January 27, 2017
2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET

Migration Policy Institute
1400 16th Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
No registration is necessary to view the livestream.

Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 750,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. Known as Dreamers, many are studying at U.S. colleges and universities or working legally in jobs throughout the U.S. labor market, and what will happen to these individuals is unclear as Donald Trump takes office.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump pledged to terminate DACA on day one of his presidency. Since then, he has said he would “work something out” because Dreamers have worked and attended school in the United States but face an uncertain future. Meanwhile, leaders in a number of sectors have mobilized strong opposition to a possible rollback.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers from both parties have reintroduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act to maintain protection from deportation and work authorization to DACA recipients. In communities across the United States, officials are declaring or reaffirming their intent to limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. In higher education, administrators are declaring their campuses will be sanctuaries for students who may fear immigration enforcement.

As the Trump administration assumes office and the impacts of rescinding DACA are under review, join the Migration Policy Institute for a discussion with University of California President Janet Napolitano; Donald Graham, former Chairman of The Washington Post Co. and cofounder of TheDream.Us, which is funding scholarships for thousands of unauthorized immigrant students; and Ike Brannon, Visiting Fellow at the CATO Institute, and author of the just released study “The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Repealing DACA.”

For more information call 202-266-1929 or emailevents@migrationpolicy.org

Additional Information on Campus Immigration Issues

Dear Wesleyan Community,

Please avail yourselves to the briefing/FAQ document produced by the American Council on Education, which  contains vital information on the current issue of undocumented status in higher education and the campus sanctuary movement.

Furthermore, as Wesleyan develops long-term resources to address the needs of DACA students, and students from mixed-status families, I encourage you to take advantage of the confidential resources in CAPS and ORSL, as well as the following legal resources:

Connecticut Legal Services of New Britain runs a DACA hotline: 860-798-0671

Immigration Law Help and the Immigration Advocates Network provide a nationwide clearing house of legal support, given immigration laws and removal proceeding are inherently complex and are best served by local legal assistance.

A standing committee of key operational offices (financial aid, class deans office, academic affairs, international student services, public safety, residential life, CAPS, center for community partnerships, admissions, legal, office of spiritual & religious life, communications, office for equity & inclusion) at Wesleyan have begun meeting in order to provide granular clarity to available resources and opportunities to continue to develop critical competencies in the service of students, staff, and any faculty potentially at risk due to their immigration status. You should direct questions regarding the committee directly to me.

As a reminder, we are planning on  bringing back elements of the C4D team to conduct a focused 2-hour workshop for Wesleyan educators. Thus far, only four individuals have signed-up. If you’re interested, please sign up here.

As questions arise, have confidence that a network of support has always been in place and will become increasingly visible on the issue of immigration status. Please don’t hesitate to contact the OEI staff, who are here to serve as a resource and sounding board for continued community engagement.

With gratitude,
Antonio Farias
VP for Equity & Inclusion/Sec. 504 & Title IX Officer

Resources to help you support undocumented students

Dear Colleagues,

On the issue of supporting undocumented students, I’d urge to consider the resources provided by CT Students for a Dream (C4D), the undocumented student-run organization we brought to campus November 4th to have just the kind of conversations and address the concerns being raised on this list serve.  Over 150 educators and experts from around Connecticut were on campus in what, through hindsight, became a just-in-time event.

As educators, you’ll find this link an invaluable resource: http://www.ct4adream.org/educator-resources

Both Student Affairs and OEI are open to brining back elements of the C4D team to conduct a focused 2-hour workshop for Wesleyan educators. If you’re interested, please sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/y9gLJAcEJB87CCU62

The Office for Equity & Inclusion along with a network of support offices on campus has been discussing the issue of how to create a robust network of support, and build educational competencies to support DACA students since President Roth’s announcement in May.  If you are interested in learning more and being part of the ongoing CT-based network of educators, please indicate your interest in the query form above.

Also, as a reminder, the campus has a wide array of resources and professionals in Human Resources and the Office for Equity & Inclusion,  whose daily work is to combat discrimination, bigotry, and workplace harassment while we work on creating an inclusive educational work environment – we are a phone call, office drop-in, email away.

On the self–service shelf, you’ll find resources here as well: http://equity.wesleyan.edu/2016/11/17/resources-to-combat-discrimination-and-bigotry/

With gratitude,
Antonio
Vice President for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX Officer

Resources to combat discrimination and bigotry

Dear Wesleyan community,

With the uptick in incidents of bias and harassment on college and university campuses nationwide, a dual concern and deep interest from individuals from marginalized groups for personal and psychological safety, as well as a general desire for sense-making in general has arisen. It is our personal responsibility to continue to educate ourselves and remain firmly committed to Wesleyan’s welcoming and inclusive values, seeking community when needed, challenging our internal biases as necessary, and remaining intellectually and emotionally open the difficult task of building an inclusive community in the face of bigotry and fear-mongering.

The Office for Equity & Inclusion serves as a hub that provides a broad range of prevention and response resources to address these challenges as a community. We don’t have office hours because you are always a priority and we welcome you to stop in, although we do appreciate prior appointments.

We cannot take action to address incidences of bias, hate, and discrimination unless you report.  It’s easy, it’s anonymous if you prefer not to give your name, and it’s only a click away. We take all claims seriously and have strong relationships with law enforcement in the event the incidents rise to the level of criminal behavior.

While we have internal workshops, programing, and interventions we provide, these electronic resources below are just one way you can start to make sense of your own personal challenges and knowledge gaps as you continue to strive to be an ally against all forms of bigotry and hate.

If you have additional resources, stop by, we’d like to sit and speak with you,

Antonio Farias North College 317

Teshia Levy-Grant North College 122

Debbie Colucci North College 112

Patricia Stephenson Gordon North College 318

Racism:

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) https://www.wkkf.org/what-we-do/racial-equity/truth-racial-healing-transformation

Advancing the Mission: Tools for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

http://www.aecf.org/resources/advancing-the-mission-tools-for-equity-diversity-and-inclusion/

The Danger of a Single Story

https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story?language=en

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbdxeFcQtaU

Race Forward

https://www.raceforward.org/videos/RaceAnd

Southern Poverty Law Center

https://www.splcenter.org

http://www.tolerance.org

Hate Crime Laws

http://www.adl.org/combating-hate/hate-crimes-law/

http://www.adc.org

Racial Equality Tools

http://www.racialequitytools.org/fundamentals

Gender Bias:

Gender Values: Meeting the Challenge for STEM Gender Diversity

http://www.aacu.org/gendervalues

Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES)

http://www.aacu.org/tides

Understanding gender bias

http://www.aauw.org

Civic Engagement and Diversity:

Research on engaging across different points of view

http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13595508/racism-trump-research-study

Diversity & Democracy

http://www.aacu.org/diversitydemocracy

Why social equity and justice are hard

https://www.compasspoint.org/sites/default/files/documents/CompassPoint-Theory-of-Change.pdf

Homophobia/Transphobia:

True Colors Sexual Minority Youth and Family Services:

http://www.ourtruecolors.org/About/index.html

Transgender Resources:

http://www.glaad.org/transgender/resources

Anti-immigration:

Post-Election: Recommendations for School Administrators, Educators, Counselors, and Undocumented Students

Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, and Interfaith Dialogue:

Interfaith Outreach, Anti-Defamation League: http://www.adl.org/education-outreach/interfaith-affairs/

Connecticut Muslim Coalition:

http://www.muslimcoalitionct.org

Yale Center for Faith and Dialogue:

http://faith.yale.edu/reconciliation-project/reconciliation-program

 

Annual Report on Sexual Violence and Next Steps in Promoting Equity & Inclusion

From: Antonio Farias
Date: Friday, September 16, 2016 at 2:36 PM
To: Campus Community
Subject: Annual Report on Sexual Violence and Next Steps in Promoting Equity & Inclusion

Dear campus community,

I write to let you know about next steps in promoting equity and inclusion on our campus that include a new committee structure, an overview of sexual assault on campus in 2015, and efforts to continue the work to diversify our faculty and staff. The President’s Equity Task Force completed its charge and made its recommendations, and now we will build on that momentum. Already we have members of our community working on staff diversity, Title IX, and accessibility. Now a new Wesleyan University Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee is being formed to coordinate these efforts and others such as the Resource Center and the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.

The Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee is comprised of the vice president for equity & inclusion, the faculty vice chair, the WSA president, and the chair of the Board of Trustees’ Campus Affairs Committee. This Steering Committee will build on the work of the Equity Task Force—including following up on its call to collaborate with students on the Resource Center—report on progress in all related areas, and make actionable recommendations on how to continue to build a more equitable and inclusive campus community where all may thrive. We are eagerly looking for volunteers to work with the Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee. Click here to sign-up now, and please encourage others to do the same.

Reports of sexual violence at Wesleyan decreased in calendar year 2015; you can find the annual report on Wesleyan’s Response to Sexual Violence here. The work is far from done, and we are continuing to improve our support for survivors, as well as our reporting and adjudication procedures. Each and every one of us must strive for a campus free of sexual assault, and I take this opportunity to issue the reminder that all faculty and staff, except those who have confidential status, are required by law to report incidents. While nearly all faculty and staff have undergone a two-hour Title VII/Title IX workshop, our goal is for 100% participation. We continue to update our website as a resource for information on reporting incidents and accessing resources.

Wesleyan is rolling out a new program for opportunity hires that should enhance efforts already underway to increase faculty and staff diversity. We will miss staff and faculty who have recently gone on to other positions, and we will work to ensure that all our employees can flourish here and contribute to the rich living-learning environment that our students count on. I encourage you to visit http://equity.wesleyan.edu/, where you’ll find timely data and communications pertinent to campus climate and culture concerns, including trend lines on employee diversity over the past five years.

Our collective embrace of the work ahead will enable us to build a university where all may succeed, and with that in mind we encourage you to join us for a yearlong conversation on Love and Justice, which will begin with a campus dialogue at Memorial Chapel, September 19th at 4:30 pm, with professor David Kyuman Kim, on the topic of Love & Justice: A Radical Love Approach. RSVP here.

Best wishes this semester,

Antonio Farias

Vice President for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX