IV. POLICY ANALYSIS
We reviewed and analyzed UR's policies and procedures relating to the handling of complaints alleging sexual harassment, and, as detailed below, we conclude that they comply with law and are substantially consistent with policies in effect at peer universities. We nevertheless make recommendations for further enhancements to the policies in Section V, and we note that certain of the Complainants' suggestions for improvements in procedures and the complaint process for claimants and witnesses are well-taken and have informed both our review and recommendations.622Although we make recommendations in Section V to revise and enhance certain policies, those recommendations should not be read to imply that the current policies do not comply with the law.
A. Intimate Relationships Policy
UR's current Intimate Relationships Policy for faculty and students, enacted in May 2017, provides, in pertinent part:
Faculty members shall not accept academic authority over any student or post-doctoral fellow with whom they currently share an intimate personal relationship, or with whom they have shared such a relationship in the past.
Faculty members shall not enter into romantic or sexual relationships with undergraduate students of the University, nor shall they enter into such relationships with any members of the University community (including all students and post-doctoral fellows and prospective students and post-doctoral fellows) over whom they exercise academic authority.623Exhibit 1.
The policy's definition of "exercising academic authority" is broad and includes conduct that goes beyond direct supervisory relationships between faculty and students, including "making professional recommendations, and taking actions to affect grades, grants, honors, and admission to academic programs."624Id.
The policy allows for "[e]xceptions" when there is a "written plan to manage the professional relationships for the protection of the parties involved," which must be approved by the OOC.625Id. Faculty members are required to report their relationships that come within, or may come within, the scope of the policy.626Id. The UR Intimate Relationships Policy does not require third parties who learn of a prohibited faculty-student relationship to disclose that fact to superiors. The University's policy for all other supervisor-subordinate relationships (Exhibit 2), however, does place an affirmative disclosure obligation on third parties who learn of a conflicting relationship.
A prior version of the policy, in place before 2014, was considerably less strict. Under that policy, intimate relationships between faculty members and students, including undergraduates, with whom the faculty member had a "direct, current supervisory or evaluative relationship" were "strongly discourage[d]," but not prohibited.627University of Rochester, Faculty Handbook (revised February 2007); Faculty Handbook (revised July 2008). Emails indicate that, in July 2012, Seligman and the OOC began to stress their shared view that the Intimate Relationships Policy should be made more restrictive. On July 19, 2012, Seligman wrote in an email to an OOC lawyer regarding his concern about "the inappropriateness of a faculty member being involved with a student who is in her or his class and whom he or she grades." (July 19, 2012 Email from J. Seligman to S. Stewart.) In May 2014, the policy was revised to make it a violation for a faculty member to have an intimate relationship with an undergraduate student or with any member of the UR community (including graduate students and post-doctoral fellows) over whom the faculty member "exercise[s] the authority of [his or her] faculty position."628University of Rochester, Faculty Handbook (revised May 2014). The policy in place in May 2014 also made it a violation for faculty members to "accept supervisory, evaluative, or advisory authority over any student or post-doctoral fellow with whom they currently share an intimate personal relationship, or with whom they have shared such a relationship in the past."629Id.
As noted, there were efforts in the wake of the Jaeger investigation and aftermath to further enhance the policy. The Administration and Faculty Senate worked to reform the policy from October 2016 until May 2017.630Nov. 30, 2017 Interview with Faculty 4 and Faculty 10. The current version of the policy differs from the May 2014 policy in three key respects: (i) by expanding the scope of prohibited faculty-student relationships (with a broad definition of "academic authority," that includes as examples "teaching, mentoring, supervising, making professional recommendations, and taking actions to affect grades, grants, honors, and admission to academic programs"); (ii) by adding warning language that where a power differential exists, "intimate relationships have the potential to expose both parties to conflict of interest, and can have adverse effects on the climate of a department or program"; and (iii) by requiring the OOC to approve any management plans.631Compare Exhibit 1, with University of Rochester, Faculty Handbook (revised May 2014).
The current Intimate Relationships Policy is consistent with federal law. Nothing in Title IX precludes a university from implementing policies prohibiting sexual conduct or sexual relationships between students and adult employees.632See U.S. Dep't of Educ. Office for Civil Rights, Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties, 6-7 (66 Fed. Reg. 5512, Jan. 19, 2001) ("Harassment Guidance"), available at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.pdf. While Title IX does not prohibit faculty-student relationships, guidance issued by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights-the federal agency that administers and enforces Title IX- recognizes the unique concerns involved when the harasser is in a position of authority. Id. at 8. And while Title IX does not prohibit faculty-student relationships, guidance issued by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights-the federal agency that administers and enforces Title IX-acknowledges that even when there is a supposed consensual relationship between an adult employee and a student, there is a strong presumption that sexual conduct between them is not consensual.633Id. Therefore, from a Title IX compliance perspective, it is generally advisable that a university implement some restrictions on faculty-student relationships.
It is notable that UR's Intimate Relationships Policy is one of the more restrictive policies in academia.634We reviewed and analyzed relevant policies at 19 representative universities of the Association of American Universities ("AAU"), of which University of Rochester is a member. These universities are: Brown University, Case Western University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, New York University, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Stanford University, Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis and Yale University.
In an Appendix, we provide a comprehensive benchmarking analysis comparing relevant University policies and procedures and those in effect at peer universities. See Appendix B. UR is, for example, one of the few universities in our sampling of 19 members of the AAU to have an outright prohibition on relationships between faculty members and undergraduate students.635Brown, University of Chicago and Yale are the only other universities in our sample to prohibit such relationships. See id. One of the few universities in this sample group that has a stricter policy than UR is Stanford University, which prohibits relationships between faculty members and graduate students in the same department, program or division.636Stanford University, Administrative Guide 1.7.2 Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships in the Workplace and Educational Setting, 2, available at https://adminguide.stanford.edu/printpdf/chapter-1/subchapter-7/policy-1-7-2. Northwestern University does not prohibit faculty-graduate student relationships in the same department, but it does require disclosure so that a management plan can be put in place to deal with any potential conflicts of interest.637Northwestern University, Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships between Faculty, Staff and Students, 3, available at http://policies.northwestern.edu/docs/Consensual_Relations_011314.pdf.
B. Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment
UR Policy 106 is UR's policy against discrimination and harassment that applies to complaints made against faculty members, staff and other non-student members of the UR community.638Exhibit 3. The current version of UR Policy 106, which came into effect in December 2013 and underwent minor, non-substantive revisions in 2014, defines sexual harassment as any "unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical acts/conduct of a sexual or sex-based nature" when:
1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic success;
2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an employment or academic decision affecting such individual; or
3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment."639Id. The first and second elements described above refer to so-called quid pro quo sexual harassment, while the third element refers to hostile work/academic environment sexual harassment.
To qualify as harassment, the conduct must also be "sufficiently severe or pervasive" and "objectively and subjectively ha[ve] the effect of (1) unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or equal access to education or (2) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment."640Exhibit 3 (emphasis in original).
UR Policy 106 mirrors federal laws and regulations defining and proscribing sexual harassment and is similar to how other universities define sexual harassment.641See 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 ("Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment."); Appendix B.
UR Policy 106 also "prohibits retaliation [by the UR] against any person who complains of or opposes perceived unlawful discrimination or harassment, including those who participate in any investigation under this policy or other proceeding involving a claim based on a protected class."642Exhibit 3. The policy defines retaliation as "adverse action" taken against an individual.643Id.; see supra, at Section III.B.1. UR Policy 106's prohibition on retaliation is also consistent with Title VII, Title IX and the anti-retaliation policies of other schools.64442 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a); 34 C.F.R. § 106.71 (incorporating 34 C.F.R. § 100.7(e) by reference).
C. Policy on Conflicting Relationships
UR's Conflicting Relationships Policy, or UR Policy 121, has traditionally been considered an anti-nepotism policy. It provides that "[n]o employee involved in employment decisions may make, participate in, or attempt to influence employment or evaluative decisions involving a relative or closely related person," with "relative or closely related person" defined to include "any individual currently or within the prior two years sexually or romantically involved in a consensual relationship with any University employee."645Exhibit 2. UR Policy 121 requires that conflicting relationships be disclosed and a management plan be put in place.646Id.
An older version of the policy, in effect from 2005 to 2012, did not define conflicting relationships to include supervisors and subordinates in an intimate relationship.647University of Rochester, Policy 121 (revised June 2005).
Compared with the AAU universities in our sample, UR now has one of the more robust and restrictive nepotism policies from the perspective of prohibiting intimate relationships, providing for procedures for reporting and management of such relationships, and establishing discipline for violations of the policy.648See Appendix B.
D. Information Technology Policy
Although noting that faculty and other users "have reasonable expectations of privacy in their uses of IT Resources," UR's IT Policy broadly authorizes UR to access and review emails sent, received, created, or stored on UR systems.649Exhibit 15. Emails stored on UR servers that are "personal"-i.e., "faculty and student research, teaching, learning or personal (i.e. non-University related) emails"-can be accessed and reviewed when such access is "determined reasonable" by a senior administrative officer or IT Management.650Id. As relevant here, the policy explicitly provides that access is "reasonable" in order "[t]o investigate or prevent a violation of law or University policy" and "[t]o comply with a subpoena, warrant, court order or similar legal process, including a discovery request or a litigation stay order issued by or investigation undertaken by the OOC in connection with a potential claim in anticipation of litigation."651Id. The policy provides that all other emails prepared by a faculty member in connection with his or her job responsibilities are "University Communications" that can be accessed by the University "as needed for the purpose of carrying out University Business without seeking prior approval."652Id.
UR's IT Policy is fully consistent with the policies of peer universities, which also permit the review of emails stored on university servers in connection with investigations into violations of university policies or procedures, among other reasons.653For example, the policy applicable to Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health explicitly states that "Employees have no expectation or right of privacy in anything they create, store, send, or receive on Harvard's computers, networks or telecommunications systems." Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Information Security and Privacy, available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/information-technology/resources/policies/security-privacy-policies/information-security/. Columbia University's policy provides that "in the context of a litigation or an investigation, it may be necessary to access Data with potentially relevant information." Columbia University, Acceptable Usage of Information Resources Policy, 2, available at http://policylibrary.columbia.edu/files/policylib/imce_shared/Acceptable_Information_Resources_Usage.pdf. Like UR, many universities indicate that users have a reasonable expectation of privacy, but then also broadly allow review and collection of emails.654Columbia, for example, notes that it "respects the privacy of individuals and keeps User files and emails . . . as private as possible." Columbia University, Acceptable Usage of Information Resources Policy, 2.
E. Investigation Policies and Procedures
UR's policies and procedures relating to investigations of sexual harassment allegations are substantially in compliance with the requirements of Title VII and Title IX and consistent with the policies of most peer universities.655During the course of the investigation, we were contacted by only one person (a parent) with concerns about how a student-on-student sexual assault complaint had been handled. We reviewed that complete file and found nothing to suggest that the University mishandled the complaint. Rather, the University investigated the complaint, offered academic accommodations and counseling for the student involved and worked to ensure the student's safety despite the fact that the student chose not to make a formal report.
Pursuant to UR Policy 106, sexual harassment and discrimination can be reported to the relevant department chair or dean, the Office of Human Resources, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office, the Office of the Intercessor or the OOC.656Exhibit 3. A recent EEOC report on workplace harassment endorses "reporting systems that are multifaceted, including a choice of procedures, and choices among multiple 'complaint handlers.'" (U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n, Report of the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace 41 (June 2016), available at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/task_force/harassment/upload/report.pdf.) The report notes that a "multi-faceted system might offer an employee who complains about harassment various mechanisms for addressing the situation." (Id.) If the matter cannot be resolved through informal measures, a formal written complaint is prepared and submitted either to the OOC or HR for "assessment and prompt investigation."657Exhibit 3. UR Policy 106 gives investigators broad discretion in conducting investigations, but provides that investigations "will include an interview with the individual who has made the complaint and interviews of other witnesses with knowledge relevant to the complaint."658Id. UR Policy 106 explicitly states that third parties, including attorneys, may not participate in investigations.659Id.
UR's Policy 106 process is consistent with federal law, which requires that a university establish a system for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints of sexual harassment.660U.S. Dep't of Educ. Office for Civil Rights, Title IX Resource Guide, 4 (Apr. 2015), available at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-title-ix-coordinators-guide-201504.pdf. UR's procedures are also consistent with most peer universities' policies, which also grant investigators wide discretion.661See Appendix B. Some universities allow complainants and respondents to have representatives during the investigative process and provide complainants with the option to have their complaint considered at a hearing.662See, e.g., Duke University, Harassment Policy & Procedures 11-12, available at https://oie.duke.edu/sites/default/files/u32/Harassment%20Policy%20and%20Procedures%2014September2017.pdf.
UR Policy 106 states that "[w]hile every effort will be made to protect the privacy of all parties, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed."663Exhibit 3. This policy is consistent with Title VII and Title IX guidance, which only require that confidentiality be maintained where feasible.664Harassment Guidance, at 17-18; U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n, Policy Guidance on Current Issues of Sexual Harassment (last modified June, 21, 1999), available at https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/currentissues.html. Other universities make clear in their policies that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed during the investigative process.665See Appendix B. Some universities, now including UR, compel participants in investigations to respect the confidentiality of the process.666Exhibit 14. Cornell, for example, requires witnesses to comply with the university's rules regarding privacy. (Cornell University, Prohibited Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual and Related Misconduct, 18, available at https://www.dfa.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/vol6_4.pdf.)
Since the conclusion of the Jaeger investigation and following criticism of the lack of clearly established rules about what participants in a confidential investigation may disclose to others, the OOC prepared a one-page information sheet about the UR Policy 106 process and, since September 2016, now provides that to witnesses.667Jan. 8, 2018 Email from C. Nearpass to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The document states that the "University requires that you keep anything related to your interview (including any information discussed during the interview and the fact that an investigation is taking place) confidential. Please do not discuss this investigation or the allegations that are being investigated with anyone."668Exhibit 14.
While the new one-page information sheet may have been a useful step, we believe more analysis and work on this issue is necessary. Devising an appropriate policy regarding confidentiality in workplace and academic investigations is a complex undertaking, involving a careful balancing of conflicting interests and legal considerations. On the one hand, there are compelling reasons for imposing measures to preserve confidentiality, including to protect privacy and reputations, and to encourage people to report misconduct and to be forthcoming in investigations without fear of embarrassment or reprisal. For these reasons, EEOC Guidance, like UR Policy 106, as enhanced by the one-page information sheet, emphasizes the importance of maintaining confidentiality to the extent possible in conducting an investigation of alleged harassment.669U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n, Enforcement Guidance on Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors, § V.C.1 (last modified Apr. 6, 2010). On the other hand, the law protects the rights of employees to engage in protected "concerted activities," which includes dialogue about sensitive issues impacting their working environments.67029 U.S.C. § 157. The National Labor Relations Board, therefore, has held that workplace rules purporting to prohibit any discussion of workplace investigations must be limited to contexts in which there has been a specific determination that such an instruction is necessary to serve legitimate interests.671The Boeing Co., 362 N.L.R.B. 195 (2015); Banner Health Sys. d/b/a/ Banner Estrella Med. Ctr., 362 N.L.R.B. 137 (2015).
In light of the complexity of the issues, and the competing considerations and regulatory guidance, we recommend that UR engage outside counsel to assist with further refining UR's approach to addressing confidentiality issues in investigations, as set forth in Section V.A.5.
UR Policy 106 provides for the preparation of a written report of findings, which is submitted to the appropriate decision-maker, who will issue a written determination of the outcome.672Exhibit 3. From 2012-16, the years for which we have data about the outcome of complaints, there were 195 complaints brought pursuant to Policy 106. Of those, five resulted in a finding of a violation of Policy 106, seven resulted in a finding of no violation but the need for further remedial action to address inappropriate conduct, and nine resulted in an appeal. (Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2016 Summary), 6; Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2015 Summary), 6; Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2014 Summary), 4-5; Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2013 Summary), 4; Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2012 Summary), 2; Metrics: Lawsuits and Agency Claims: Employment.) The remaining complaints either were determined to fall outside the scope of Policy 106 and not investigated, resolved without an investigation through the Intercessor's office, or investigated and determined that there was no violation of Policy 106. (Id.)
Since 2014, when the University began maintaining statistics about the categories of Policy 106 complaints, the most commonly alleged type of discrimination in Policy 106 complaints is sex/gender discrimination (including sexual harassment). Of the 135 complaints filed under Policy 106 from 2014-16, 56 dealt with sex/gender discrimination (including sexual harassment). (Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2016 Summary), 6; Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2015 Summary), 6; Employment-Related Legal Claims Update (2014 Summary), 4 n. 5.) The written determination is provided to the complainant, the accused and appropriate administrative personnel.673Exhibit 3. This complies with federal law standards for investigative reports, which require that both parties (the complainant and accused) be notified, in writing, of the outcome of both the complaint and any appeal.674Harassment Guidance, at 20. UR's policy is also consistent with the policies of peer universities in our sample, the majority of which provide that the complainant and respondent should be notified of the outcome of a complaint or investigation.675Cornell University allows for the release of a "public statement of its findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations," although will only do so after taking into account any concerns about confidentiality. (Cornell University, Procedures for Resolution of Reports against Faculty Under Cornell University Policy 6.4, 18, available at https://hr.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/documents/faculty_policy6.4procedures.pdf.) In certain circumstances, Cornell also engages in actions to restore the respondent's reputation, such as notifying persons who participated in the investigation, and/or a public announcement of the outcome. (Id. at 7.)
F. Sexual Harassment Training
UR currently mandates that faculty members, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students all undergo mandatory training sessions regarding sexual misconduct and UR Policy 106.676Jan. 3, 2018 Email from M. Levy to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Nov. 14, 2017 Interview with G. Norris; Nov. 15, 2017 Interview with M. Levy; Nov. 15, 2017 Interview with M. Sturge-Apple. Federal law does not require employers or universities to offer training on sexual harassment and grievance procedures, but regulators strongly encourage such training. (See 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(f).) UR's training complies with these advisory guidelines. UR only recently introduced mandatory training. Several witnesses with whom we spoke complained about the lack of adequate training on this topic and recommended that UR expand its offerings. One former student said that she could not recall receiving any training on sexual harassment or appropriate workplace relationships. She said, "the University's failure to effectively train graduate students on these matters is problematic because it left graduate students unable to know what behaviors were and were not acceptable, and unsure how and when to report inappropriate workplace behaviors."677Nov. 14, 2017 Statement from Graduate Student 8. Other students echoed these concerns, with four students saying that they would not have known where to report complaints of sexual harassment. 678Oct. 24, 2017 Interview with Graduate Student 10; Oct. 25, 2017 Interview with Graduate Student 20; Nov. 27, 2017 Interview with Graduate Student 30; Nov. 2, 2017 Interview with Graduate Student 2. Many faculty members with whom we spoke also said that the training they received was ineffective. One faculty member said the training did not explain how to report complaints of sexual harassment or what would happen after those complaints were reported.679Oct. 17, 2017 Interview with Faculty 19. The general consensus was that UR needs to do a better job of explaining what constitutes sexual harassment and the process surrounding sexual harassment complaints and investigations.680Over the course of the investigation, we were contacted by six UR alumna who described experiencing some type of sexual harassment by UR faculty during their time at the University. Some never reported and some did report and were dissatisfied with the way the complaint was handled. Each of these accounts, which took place long before mandatory training was imposed, demonstrated how critical effective training is to all-victims, bystanders, and people to whom others turn with these concerns.
UR implemented mandatory online sexual misconduct training for all faculty members and staff for the first time in 2013.681Nov. 14, 2017 Interview with G. Norris. The mandatory training has been offered twice: during the 2013-2014 academic year and the 2015-2016 academic year.682Id. The modules address UR policies relating to sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, resources for reporting harassment and discrimination, and harassment within the context of college campuses. The current training module does not, however, address UR's policy on faculty-student relationships other than to provide a link to the relevant portion of the UR Intimate Relationships Policy. To encourage participation by faculty members, salary increases were not given to any UR employee who failed to complete the program.683Id. While such training was not required before 2013, including at the time of Jaeger's arrival to UR in 2007, training courses were available through HR and employees could have participated if they desired.684Nov. 30, 2017 Interview with B. Saat. According to Barbara Saat, UR's Director of HR Services, faculty members rarely exercised this option.685Id.
The training offered in 2013-2014 was prepared by United Educators, a company that specializes in preparing training courses for colleges and universities.686Nov. 17, 2017 Interview with G. Norris. The training offered to faculty members in 2015-2016 was prepared in-house by the University and was subject to some criticism.687Id. According to the complaints, at a department-wide BCS dinner event, Jaeger characterized the mandatory sexual harassment training offered in 2015 as "stupid."688EEOC Compl. ¶ 123; Fed. Compl. ¶ 180. We spoke to five people who attended the event, including Jaeger, and we credit this allegation.689Oct. 23, 2017 Interview with Graduate Student 21; Oct. 12, 2017 Interview with Administrator 3; Dec. 17, 2017 Interview with Faculty 7; Nov. 1, 2017 Interview with Faculty 8; Dec. 18, 2017 Interview with F. Jaeger. Jaeger did not remember calling the training "stupid," but said he complained about the training because he did not think it was very effective.690Dec. 18, 2017 Interview with F. Jaeger. Others with whom we spoke agreed.691Nov. 14, 2017 Interview with G. Norris.
UR also provides mandatory sexual harassment and sexual misconduct training to students.692The implementation of mandatory sexual harassment and sexual misconduct training, and the greater awareness that such training engenders among students and employees about such behavior, generally results in an increase in the number of complaints that are filed. (See U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n, Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace 46 (June 2016) ("[T]raining can increase the ability of attendees to understand the type of conduct that is considered harassment and hence unacceptable in the workplace.").) In a study that evaluated anti-harassment training at two large employers, "complaints to the human resources department did increase after the training." UR witnessed a substantial increase in Policy 106 complaints in 2016 and attributes the rise to its recent expansion of mandatory anti-harassment training. (Employment- Related Legal Claims Update (2016 Summary), 7.) The University has made it mandatory for all incoming graduate and undergraduate students to complete both in-person and online sexual misconduct and Title IX training since 2014.693Jan. 3, 2018 Email from M. Levy to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. In 2016-2017, the University began imposing consequences for a student's failure to complete a training course. Incoming undergraduate students who failed to complete the online training by October 20, 2016 had a registration hold placed on their accounts. (Id.; Nov. 15, 2017 Interview with M. Levy.) Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, incoming graduate students will have a registration hold applied to their accounts if they fail to timely complete training. (Jan. 3, 2018 Email from M. Levy to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.) Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, the medical school and dental school began imposing a fine against incoming students who fail to complete the training. (Jan. 3, 2018 Email from M. Levy to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.)
We reviewed HavenPlus, the graduate student-specific online training module, and found it to be effective and comprehensive. The module addresses domestic partner violence, sexual harassment, stalking and sexual assault. The training also touches upon personal and professional boundaries and navigating faculty-student interactions. The training module also contains a section on how to create a respectful community and academic environment, and warns against sexist language by providing various examples of inappropriate language. At various points throughout the online training, students are required to review UR's relevant policies in order to progress to the next screen. The training module also contains resources available to victims or individuals who want to learn more.
The mandatory in-person training session for incoming graduate students led by Levy addresses the requirements and prohibitions of Title IX, the role of the Title IX Coordinator, how to contact the Title IX Coordinator and a high-level overview of UR policies against discrimination and harassment. UR also offers additional, optional in-person training sessions, including training about maintaining a boundary between personal and professional settings.
Like HavenPlus, Haven, the online training course on sexual harassment and misconduct that is required for undergraduate students, also focuses on sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and sexual harassment. The module does not, however, include much of the material addressing faculty-student interactions and navigating personal/professional boundaries offered in HavenPlus.
Prior to implementing mandatory online training in 2014, both graduate students and undergraduate students received separate, in-person presentations on Title IX and sexual misconduct. According to Levy, this practice dated back to 2008.694Jan. 3, 2018 Email from M. Levy to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The training session addressed Title IX and Title VII and identified UR Policy 106 as a resource for students who wished to file a complaint.