At the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly Oct. 27 meeting, senators received a presentation update on new Title IX regulations and passed a bill that supports the American Indian Student Association’s Brafferton Week, which aims to increase dialogue concerning the College’s history with its treatment towards American Indians.
At the beginning of the meeting, Undersecretary for Title IX Affairs Katie Grotewiel ’22 delivered a presentation about the College’s most recent changes to its sexual misconduct policies, following changes to Title IX made by the U.S. Department of Education. The College’s current policy includes interim regulations, which will be evaluated and made official by the beginning of the spring semester.
There are several important changes to the sexual misconduct policies, including the fact that sexual assaults which occur off-campus no longer fall under the purview of Title IX policy. These sexual assaults, however, are still violations of College policy. Other changes include the length of the investigation process, which is no longer restricted to a 60-day timeframe, and the implementation of a conference determination, or “live hearing,” which requires that complainants, respondents and their advisors participate in a conference in which both sides can ask questions of one another. Finally, new Title IX regulations include a change from no-contact orders to non-communication orders. While complainants can still request that there be no interaction between themselves and the respondent, there is no longer a physical distance requirement included in the order.
The College is currently developing “alternative resolution” processes, which are options that students can partake in if they are uncomfortable going through the new Title IX procedures.
Several senators expressed concerns about the elimination of the no-contact order and wondered whether SA could potentially work with administration to address these concerns or if administration itself was restricted due to this being Federal policy. Grotewiel said she would speak to appropriate parties and get back with an update on whether SA could assist in this role.
Sen. Jane Geiger ’21 then introduced the AISA Brafferton Week Recognition Act, which is also sponsored by Sens. Gloriana Cubero Fernandez ’24 and Eugene Lee ’23. The bill calls for SA to express formal support for AISA’s annual Brafferton Week, which honors the contribution of American Indian students to the College and includes discussions and panels with tribal members and historians. The act includes language stating that SA will promote the week’s events through its outreach department and social media platform, and also stipulates that SA will continue to support the week in the years going forward.
Due to time constraints, the bill was moved to old business and voted on immediately. It passed unanimously.
Also at this week’s meeting:
- Sen. Michael Martinez J.D. ’23 was sworn in as the newest representative from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law.
- SA President Anthony Joseph ’21 announced that, following the closing of the pass-fail referendum Oct. 27, his administration will evaluate the data from the referendum and then make an official recommendation about pass-fail policies to College Provost Peggy Agouris’s Office, as well as address concerns raised by students in graduate programs.