The Louisiana Board of Regents has adopted a uniform policy on power-based violence.
The aim of the policy is to protect college and university students in light of recent significant system failures relating to addressing sexual misconduct on campuses, a statement from the higher-ed board states.
The vote comes ahead of statewide training for postsecondary education stakeholders next week aimed at better educating campus leaders on how to implement federal Title IX laws as well as recently passed state legislation, officials say.
“While the law prescribed a January deadline, we will meet our obligation before the start of the semester through our vote today followed by training next week for higher education campus teams, board members, and system staff,” said Board of Regents Chair Blake David. “Drafting of this policy began the minute legislation was passed directing Regents to update its Uniform Policy, and we called a special meeting to make sure the policy is in place ahead of the Fall semester. We all know the expectation to get this right, and as a higher education community, we must meet it.”
The policy, resulting from Acts 472 (Freeman), 439 (Mizell), and 447 (Riser) of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session, outlines increased requirements for training, reporting, and communication as well as strict disciplinary consequences both for non-compliant employees and for campuses.
Highlights of the updated Uniform Policy on Power-Based Violence include:
- Expansion of the policy environment to encompass power-based violence, which includes but expands beyond sexual misconduct and Title IX conduct;
- Reporting requirements for employees, to include significant “up-the-chain” reporting of summarized power-based violence incidents by Title IX coordinators, chancellors, system presidents, and system management boards. Additionally, Regents will annually submit summarized higher education incident reports to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate and House Education Committees;
- Termination of employees who knowingly fail to report or falsely report information;
- Requirement to withhold transcripts or transcript notations of pending investigations/violations for transferring students;
- Annual reporting of Campus Security Data, along with Sex Crime Data and Publishing of Power-Based Violence Survey results every three years;
- Withholding of State Bond Commission authorization to incur debt for a period of two years for failure to publish Campus Safety Reports; and
- Annual mandatory training for Title IX coordinators, confidential advisors, and responsible employees who could receive direct statements regarding incidents of power-based violence.
“Our job at Regents is to develop strong policies that result in high-quality and positive experiences for students,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “Parents entrust their students to our institutions, and we must do all we can to keep them safe and provide an environment where they can learn, grow and graduate. The Legislature and the Governor have sent a clear and stern message that significant improvement is expected, and we hear them loud and clear.”
The draft uniform policy adopted by Regents included collaboration, input, and feedback from almost 60 postsecondary education stakeholders appointed by system presidents, including registrars, Title IX coordinators, campus police, deans of students, academic affairs staff, and systems’ counsel.
Discussions were guided by the expertise of a nationally recognized Title IX/power-based violence specialist, Nelson Mullins, LLP.
Next steps include mandatory training, sponsored by Regents, on August 17, 2021, for public postsecondary board members, system presidents, and legal counsel, followed by a second training on August 18, 2021, for campus-based teams composed of chancellors, Title IX coordinators, law enforcement officers, academic affairs personnel, and athletic department staff.
Officials say that all institutions shall immediately begin complying with the Uniform Policy and develop institutional policies in coordination with their systems and in full compliance with the Regents’ policy. Management boards are to verify institutional compliance with the statewide policy prior to sharing copies of the institutions’ policies with Regents this year.