Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Consulting Services

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Overview of Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Audits, Assessments, and Training

D. Stafford & Associates has developed a comprehensive Title IX Audit and Compliance Service that blends interviewing of key institutional stakeholders with an off-site policy, procedure, and internal practices review.

Sexual Misconduct (Title IX)Policy Review and Redevelopment Services

DStafford & Associates has several options to fit the unique needs institutions have as it relates to complying with the 2020 Title IX Regulations. The options are designed with the flexibility to review and/or re-write some, most, or all of the policies and procedures an institution needs to proceed in compliance.  The options include the following:

Option A: Basic Review Only

Our expert assessors will complete a basic review of the institution’s existing Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy and applicable grievance procedure to identify any areas that are not in compliance with the requirements outlined by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Clery Act (as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013) (VAWA). 

Deliverables:

  • A track-changed/inserted comments version of the institution’s existing Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy and applicable grievance procedure with feedback from the assessors regarding areas of noncompliance that have been identified by the assessors; and 
  • A written report that provides feedback and recommendations to the institution regarding items identified in the existing policy/procedure.  
  • A final web-based meeting (up to 1 hour) with institutional stakeholders and the assessor(s) to explain the report (including what the assessor found to be missing) and to provide the institution an opportunity to brainstorm strategies to get into compliance.  

Note: This option does not include any rewriting/redevelopment of existing policies or procedures.   

Option B: Redeveloped Title IX Policy and Grievance Procedure

Our expert assessors will conduct a Zoom meeting with key stakeholders at the institution to better understand the structure, culture, and needs of the institution prior to constructing a Title IX Policy and grievance procedure that is fully-compliant with the requirements outlined by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Clery Act (as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013) (VAWA). The grievance procedure will address all required elements as outlined in the 2020 Title IX Regulations, including requirements related to the live hearing process. The assessor(s) will also construct internal hearing board procedures that can be utilized to further operationalize the live hearing process described in the Title IX Policy and grievance procedure. 

Deliverables:

  • A fully-compliant Title IX Policy and applicable operational grievance procedure; 
  • A written report that provides recommendations for continued compliance, including considerations within the report for internal hearing board procedures to help operationalize live hearings; and
  • A final web-based meeting (up to 1 hour) with institutional stakeholders and the assessor(s) to address any lingering questions or concerns among institutional officials and to provide the institution an opportunity to brainstorm strategies to get into compliance.  

Option C: Redeveloped Title IX, Title VII, and Student Conduct Policies/Processes

This option is the most comprehensive option DSA offers. Our expert assessor(s) will conduct a Zoom meeting with key stakeholders at the institution to better understand the structure, culture, and needs of the institution. The assessor(s) will review the institution’s Student Code of Conduct, current Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy, and institutional Sexual Harassment (Title VII) Policy. Following the Zoom meeting and document review, the assessor(s) will construct a Title IX Policy and grievance procedure, that is fully-compliant with the requirements outlined by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Clery Act (as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013) (VAWA), including compliance requirements related to live hearings. 

The assessor(s) will also construct internal hearing board procedures that can be utilized to further operationalize the live hearing process described in the Title IX Policy and grievance procedure. 

Additionally, the assessor(s) will provide suggested language to amend the Student Code of Conduct (by creating special resolution procedures in cases where the Clery Act applies, but Title IX does not). Proposed language will also be developed and provided by the assessor(s) to amend the institution’s Title VII policy/procedure for the same purpose.  The proposed modifications to the Student Code of Conduct and Title VII policy/procedure will help to ensure compliance with the Clery Act as amended by VAWA in all cases of Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking that are not subject to the requirements or jurisdiction of Title IX.  

Deliverables:

  • A fully-compliant Title IX Policy and applicable grievance procedure; 
  • Proposed language to modify the Student Code of Conduct; 
  • Proposed language to modify the Sexual Harassment (Title VII) Policy and grievance procedure;
  • A written report that provides recommendations for continued compliance, including considerations within the report for internal hearing board procedures to help operationalize live hearings; and
  • A final web-based meeting (up to 1 hour) with institutional stakeholders and the assessor(s) to address any lingering questions or concerns among institutional officials and to provide the institution an opportunity to brainstorm strategies to get into compliance.  
  • (optional) Draft notice documents to be used by the Title IX Coordinator as well as internal case management documents (specific documents to be developed will be agreed-upon by DSA and the institution).

Title IX Hearing Services

Mock Hearing Exercise (Conducted Virtually)

The Mock Hearing Exercise is an interactive simulation where your institution’s Title IX Personnel and others involved in hearings will practice conducting a hearing from start to finish.  The Exercise will assist the institution in meeting the requirements of the 2020 Title IX Regulations specific to conducting a hearing as well as the training requirements that rest within the Clery Act at 34 C.F.R. §668.46(k)(2)(ii).

DSA experts will conduct the Mock Hearing Exercise on an agreed-upon date and time and according to the institution’s specific policy, procedures, and/or hearing script. The hearing will be conducted via Zoom, which will allow all institutional stakeholders who have a function in the exercise to participate from anywhere. This session is limited to institutional employees who serve as Title IX Personnel or hearing personnel and those employees internal to the institution who serve as advisors. Non-participating observers from the client institution can monitor the exercise for educational purposes, with prior approval from DSA.

DSA experts will serve as Advisors and will conduct cross examination.

The key elements of this exercise service include the following:

  • Pre-Exercise Conference
  • Mock Hearing Exercise
  • Exercise Debrief
  • After Action Report

DSA will conduct an exercise debrief with personnel from the exercise and provide feedback on what went well in addition to identifying potential areas for improvement.

Client institutions will be given the option of choosing one of two scenarios developed by DSA and outlined in the scope.

Deliverables:

  • Facilitation of a pre-exercise conference (up to 1 hour), the Mock Hearing Exercise (2 hours), and an exercise debrief meeting (2 hours).
  • A succinct, written After Action Report that provides feedback and recommendations based on the Mock Hearing Exercise

After Hearing Review Service (Conducted Virtually)

Have you conducted one or more live hearings under the 2020 Title IX Regulations? Did your team debrief on what went well, what didn’t, and what needs to be improved for future live hearings?

A DSA Title IX expert will review the notice documents, investigative report, and hearing transcript/recording* of one hearing (as selected by institution representatives). Following this review, DSA will facilitate a virtual discussion with your Title IX team. The discussion will provide institutional stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback regarding the process and will provide insight from experts on how the institution can improve the live hearing process.

*Institution is required to provide DSA with notice documents, investigative report, and hearing transcript or recording of a live hearing held post August 14, 2020.

Deliverables:

  • Facilitation of a virtual discussion with institutional stakeholders and the Title IX team (up to 90 minutes).
  • A succinct, written report that provides feedback and recommendations based on the review of documents and virtual discussion.

Individualized Consulting Prior to Upcoming Hearings

DSA offers this option for institutions who need assistance with one or more of the following:

  • How to prepare for a live hearing;
  • Receive a refresher on the requirements of Title IX as it relates to the live hearing requirement;
  • Logistics for the live hearing (considerations in setting up the live hearing process using technology);
  • The ABC’s of the pre-hearing conference with parties and their advisors;
  • Recommendations on drafting the hearing script; and/or
  • Other topics as determined by the institution’s needs.

Deliverables:

  • One or more meetings between institution officials and a DSA Title IX expert (of a mutually agreed upon duration and frequency, ranging from as little as 90 minutes to as much as 4 hours)

Title IX Investigations

Stafford & Associates has a team of highly-skilled investigators whose experience prepares them to provide independent Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Civil Rights Investigation services for colleges and universities. DSA investigators are experienced in conducting investigations involving Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking. DSA investigators specialize in conducting fair, thorough, and impartial investigations and are experienced with and attuned to the culture of higher education and the requirements of Title IX and the Clery Act (VAWA).

Our team has expertise in the Violence Against Women Act, the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. D. Stafford & Associates is a United Educators (UE) approved service provider for sexual misconduct investigation services.

Many institutions utilize DSA investigative services if they do not have a volume of cases sufficient to justify hiring and training an investigator. Alternatively, there are institutions that use DSA to supplement their current investigative staff due to high volume of complaints or a particularly complex incident. In other cases, institutions use DSA when they have a high-profile case, have an accusation of bias in their process and require and external investigator, or a complaint in which an actual or perceived conflict of interest is most effectively remedied by employing an outside, impartial, and seasoned investigative team. Investigative references are available upon request.

On-Site Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Training Classes for Institutions, Consortia, or Systems of Higher Education

D. Stafford & Associates provides on-site or live, virtual training classes for individual institutions of higher education as well as consortia or systems that wish to bring Title IX and VAWA training to their employees/members. DSA will suggest the involvement of various campus administrators, depending on the identified needs of the institution.

DSA has numerous options for classes that can be held at an individual institution, as listed below. If a campus is having a specific challenge in certain areas of complying with Title IX and/or VAWA and would like the training to focus on those areas, DSA can customize the training to fit the institution’s needs.

We also offer on-site or live, virtual training sessions for Responsible Employees/Title IX Mandated Reporters and we facilitate round-table discussions with the senior leadership, governing board members, and others regarding the key Title IX challenges and issues being faced by institutions. DSA has provided on-site training at more than 100 campuses across the country. DSA also conducts regular national training classes around the country for individuals who need to attend a Title IX Coordinator or Investigator (criminal or civil rights) training class. Click here to learn more about our national Title IX and Sexual Misconduct training programs or to register an individual to attend one of these programs.

Most Frequently Requested Standard On-Site or Live, Virtual Class Options:

  • Title IX High Level Overview: 2-4 hour class
  • Title IX/VAWA for Board of Trustees/Regents- Legal Overview: 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Title IX (Detailed Overview): 1 Day Class
  • Title IX Coordinator Training: 2 Day Class
  • Title IX Investigation Training (Sexual Harassment & Violence): 2 Day Class
  • Title IX Investigation Training (Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, & Stalking)): 2 Day Class
  • Responsible Employee/Title IX Mandated Reporter Training: 90 minute session
  • Senior Leadership Round Table Discussion: 2 Hour, 1 Hour, and 90 Minute Options Depending on Identified Needs
  • Title IX Decision Maker Training: New class in compliance with 2020 Regulations—see description below. (Primarily delivered as a live, virtual class unless our team is already on campus teaching other classes on this list).
  • Title IX Advisor Training: New class in compliance with 2020 Regulations—see description below. (Primarily delivered as a live, virtual class unless our team is already on campus teaching other classes on this list).
  • APPELLATE OFFICER Training: New class in compliance with 2020 Regulations—see description below. (Primarily delivered as a live, virtual class unless our team is already on campus teaching other classes on this list).

Title IX Decision-Maker Training

DSA offers a live, virtual Title IX Decision-Maker Training Class designed for individual institutions (this class is not available for consortia or systems, as the class is informed by each individual institution’s Title IX Policy and Procedures). The class is appropriate for your staff who are responsible for responding to allegations of Sexual Misconduct.   The class provides decision-makers with the tools needed to make fair and impartial determinations and addresses the training topics mandated by the 2020 Title IX Regulations and the Clery Act at 34 C.F.R. §668.46(k)(2)(ii). The class can be held for 7 hours in one day or it can be broken up into 3.5 hour sessions that are held over two consecutive days.

The class will provide training on the definition of sexual harassment; the scope of the recipient’s education program or activity; conducting hearings; impartiality, including avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias; using technology at a live hearing; and issues of relevance of questions and evidence; and other institution-specific issues related to hearings and decision-making.

This class will include training on the following:

  • The definition of sexual harassment in § 106.30,
  • The scope of the recipient’s education program or activity
  • Training on any technology to be used at a live hearing
  • How to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable
  • Issues of relevance of questions and evidence
  • Including when questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant
  • How to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.

Title IX Advisor Training

DSA offers a virtual title IX Advisor Training Class designed for individual institutions (this class is not available for consortia or systems, as the class is informed by each individual institution’s procedures and practices). The class is appropriate for individuals who will be serving in the role of advisor to parties in a sexual misconduct complaint. The class will be held for 4 hours in one day or it can be broken up into 2 hour sessions that are held over two consecutive days.

The class will provide training on the Title IX regulations; the role of the advisor; participating in hearings; relevant issues related to technology; relevance of questions and evidence; and other institution-specific issues related to hearings and advisors.

Appellate Officer Training

This 4-hour virtual training class is specifically designed for Appeals Officers. DSA can be contracted to provide this class for individual institutions. The class is also offered by NACCOP, a DSA partner organization, where individuals can register for the class (go to www.naccop.org to see available class options).

The Appellate Officer Training class will provide training required by the 2020 Title IX regulations to Decision Makers tasked with hearing appeals for Title IX complaints. The class will include the instructors facilitating a mock appeal whereby attendee(s) will practically apply what they learned to determine an appellate outcome.

The 4-hour course will include training on the following (items in quotations are required by the Title IX regulations for all Decision Makers):

  • Fulfills the basic Title IX requirements for appellate decision-makers (Definition of sexual harassment, scope of the recipient’s education program or activity, how to conduct the appeal, and how to serve impartially)
  • Conducting an appeal for Title IX Signed Formal Complaint dismissals as well as original findings from live hearings
  • The three required grounds for appeals
  • Determining timeliness of appeal
  • Determining if appellate grounds have been met
  • Determining appeal outcomes based on provided information
  • Ensuring a bias-free decision-making process
  • Identifying conflicts of interest

To obtain a scope of work that includes a description and cost of any of these services, or to invite D. Stafford & Associates to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide these services, contact dolores@dstaffordandassociates.com or call (302) 544-5809 to discuss any of these services and/or a customized scope of work.

Online Title IX Training For “Responsible Employees”

D. Stafford & Associates offers campuses an option of purchasing a web-based training center to allow clients to use on-line (on demand) training to meet the requirements to train Title IX Responsible Employees (per Title IX requirements) and Campus Security Authorities (per Clery Act requirements). The information and costs for the on-line training are available on our website in the training section. Click here »