Oct 8, 2015
Oct. 8, 2015
SALT LAKE CITY
- Officials from the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will make a site visit to Westminster from Nov. 2-6, 2015, to conduct an evaluation of the college's policies and procedures regarding sexual violence on campus. The visit is in response to a complaint that was filed in 2013.
Westminster College is among more than 100 higher education institutions across the nation currently under review by the OCR.
During their visit, the OCR-a division of the U.S. Department of Education-will determine whether Westminster College officials handled the case properly and will review the college's policies and procedures for responding to student allegations of sexual misconduct/assault.
"The safety and security of our student population is our number one priority, so we welcome the OCR team to campus to assess our Title IX policies and procedures to ensure they meet their stringent standards," said Melissa Flores, Westminster College general counsel. "We are committed to providing processes that ensure fairness to all of campus community members."
As part of their campus visit, the OCR team will interview individuals who were involved in handling the specific sexual assault allegation and meet with various focus groups. The team will hold open-office times for individual students, faculty and staff who would like to discuss civil rights issues. To ensure the confidentiality of appointments, a poster board will be set up near the Concierge Desk in Shaw, just outside the Dean of Student's Office entrance, this month. Information about how to sign up for 20-minute individual appointments will be posted as well as on the Westminster website.
In preparation for the site visit, the college has provided the OCR with more than 1,000 pages of documents outlining training on discrimination, harassment and sexual violence, as well as college policies and allegations of sexual assault/misconduct, which include case notes and adjudication documents.
"Colleges and universities across the nation can all do better to prevent sexual violence, and we are looking to the OCR to help us improve upon our existing policies and programs and help us provide the safest environment we can for our students," said Jason Schwartz-Johnson, Westminster's Title IX coordinator. "Westminster takes its inclusion on the OCR's list very seriously and is committed to addressing sexual violence issues head-on."
Additional background on the OCR visit
For information about Title IX click here