ASPC passes resolution addressing Title IX policy concerns, calls for trauma-informed support for survivors

Large white building with lots of doors and windows and a sunny lawn.
ASPC passes a resolution that addresses the concerns students and advocates had with the need for safety and trauma-oriented support in the interm 6C Title IX policy. (Chris Nardi • The Student Life)

CW: Sexual violence

ASPC unanimously passed a resolution addressing concerns and issues with the 6C interim Title IX policy introduced in August, ASPC President Payal Kachru PO ’21 announced in a Sept. 25 email.

Kachru said the resolution is a “manifestation of the concerns” 5C Advocates and 5C student body governments had with the interim policy and said the current policy lacks “proper thought, consideration and care for survivorship and trauma-informed procedures.”

The resolution, penned alongside Pomona College Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, is aimed at promoting trauma-informed support in the interim policy and calls for the drafting of a new policy in a process that allows stakeholders such as “Title IX coordinators, student advocates, and other consortium members or support services” to be “active members” in the drafting process, according to the resolution. 

Additionally, it urges the removal of the “character clause,” which requires an alleged perpetrator’s character, including “contribution to their institutional community,” to be considered in Title IX proceedings and potential sanctions.

The resolution also advocates for Title IX administrators, investigators, appeals officers and hearing officers to be trained in issues concerning “intersectionality, implicit bias [and] disability.” 

“The [interim policy’s] current training … lack specificity for trauma-informed action and implicit bias training, which make it important to consider the wellbeing of survivors & alleged perpetrators,” the resolution said. ”We believe Pomona College needs to commit, along with other institutions of the Task Force, to a Consortium-Wide 7C Policy which reflects trauma-informed practices and procedures,” the resolution said.

Hersheeta Suri PO ’21, ASPC vice president of student affairs and previous Title IX director, was among the ASPC members responsible for advocating for the cross-campus Title IX addition and drafting the resolution.

“[The unified policy] was something that the majority of the Claremont community, including myself, liked and wanted, as there were a lot of issues with cross-campus sexual assault cases,” Suri said.

The procedures for sexual assault cases have historically been complicated by varying policies across the Claremont campuses.

The 7C President’s Council convened a task force of administrators and one outside consultant to draft the Title IX policy in 2019. However, the task force’s lack of Title IX coordinators and other “clear and key stakeholders and members of the 7C community” was troubling and “very telling,” Suri said.

“There are people making policies that are going to affect the entirety of our Claremont College community who are not the best people to write that policy,” Suri said.

“ASPC wanted to make clear in this resolution that we, as a college, need to be better about how we make policy. Frankly speaking, we wanted sexual assault to be taken a lot more seriously on campus.”

The creation of the Claremont Colleges Coalition for Survivor Advocacy has since moved other 5C student governments to advocate for similar Title IX policy reform. 

According to ASCMC President Johnson Lin CM ’21, ASCMC has been actively involved in the process of reviewing the Title IX policy and has contributed throughout the summer via representation on Claremont Colleges Coalition for Survivor Advocacy and meetings with the Title IX task force.

“We support ASPC’s efforts to advocate for its students and have similarly pursued action by submitting our concerns, hosting a town hall and encouraging students to submit concerns during the comment period,” Johnson said via email.

Maya Lynch SC ’22, Scripps Associated Students junior class co-president, served as the SAS representative on the Claremont Colleges Coalition for Survivor Advocacy.

For Lynch, the issues addressed in the Sept. 25 resolution addressed many of her concerns, including “incomprehensive definitions of consent used in the policy, and the lack of commitment to trauma-informed procedures,” Lynch said via email.

The resolution reaffirmed SAS’s involvement with Title IX policy and dedication to ensuring a consortium-wide trauma-informed and survivor-centered final policy, Lynch said. 

“SAS will continue to raise our concerns with the interim policy to administration, and closely monitor the development of the revised policy to the extent that we can. We urge the Title IX task force to heavily integrate student feedback in the final policy that will be released in the coming weeks.”

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