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Feb. 19, 2015 Volume 36, No. 20

Council members discuss new Title IX procedure affecting faculty

Provost Garnett Stokes announces a “listening tour”

On Feb. 5, the University of Missouri Board of Curators approved new rules and regulations regarding allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct brought against a staff or faculty member.

Marsha Fischer, a lawyer in the UM System’s general counsel’s office, explained some of the changes during a Feb. 12 Faculty Council meeting in Memorial Union. She mostly discussed the new rule and regulation 600.40, which addresses sexual harassment and discrimination complaints against faculty.

If the process goes to a formal hearing called the Equity Resolution Panel, both complainant and accused have the right to have their advisers present, the new Title IX rule states. But the adviser is not allowed to speak on behalf of the person. The complainant and accused are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf.

The procedure brings a measure of fairness to the hearing, Fischer said. A faculty member, unlike a student complainant, might have the financial means to hire a skilled attorney, which might tip the balance of fairness of the proceeding.

Frank Bowman, a law professor and guest speaker, praised the new Title IX rules and regulations. However, regarding 600.040, he said he supported a procedure allowing advisers to ask questions at a formal hearing.

The 600.040 rule has a provision allowing it to be amended by executive order for up to two years after its approval.

In other news, Provost Garnett Stokes made her first visit to Faculty Council since starting at MU Feb. 2. She said she would conduct “a listening tour” over the next several months by meeting with faculty and administrators.

Stokes said a high priority is on raising the profile of the university within the Association of American Universities.

“I am excited about the possibilities,” she said.