BATON ROUGE, La. – Members of the Board of Regents today thoroughly discussed the Board of Regents Uniform Policy on Sexual Misconduct established statewide in 2015 and aligned with state law, as well as federal provisions in Title IX mandating safe learning environments and the Clery Act, which requires disclosure of campus security policies and crime statistics. Regents stressed its responsibility to convene and collaborate with all higher education stakeholders to ensure consistent understanding and implementation of the laws, policies, and best practices concerning sexual misconduct on campus given the current climate in Louisiana.
“Today is the time for Regents along with our systems to again declare what we value and where we stand,” said Board of Regents Chairman Blake David. “We demand strong education and prevention programs to minimize sexual misconduct on our campuses coupled with solid statewide policies with enforcement provisions to address violations with compassion and support for survivors.”
“Catastrophic failures that leave students without adequate protection have no place here in our state,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “We must ensure that we marry Regents’ critical policy role with the enforcement and implementation roles of our management boards to get this right. We will continue our efforts to ensure that we are educating students in a safe environment.” Reed emphasized.
Regents sent a letter this week to the four public postsecondary system presidents and management board chairs requesting information ranging from website links to their current policies, points of contact for reporting sexual harassment/assault, the number of confidential advisors on campus and when they last received training, as well as confirmation that each institution has established a task force to address sexual misconduct. The letter also asked whether systems had adopted morality clauses for employment contracts and if they had entered into a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.
During the hour-long Board development session, Regents reviewed the Uniform Policy on Sexual Misconduct, originally adopted in February 2015 then amended in August of the same year in response to the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (Act 172 of the 2015 Regular Legislative Session). The policy was designed to help public postsecondary institutions create and maintain safe learning environments for all individuals who participate in the institutions’ activities and programs. During the policy’s development, Regents assembled national experts and shared best practices for providing statewide training opportunities to assist in uniform compliance.
Mandatory activities for public postsecondary institutions include:
- Prevention & Awareness Programs
- Confidential Advisors
- Campus Climate Surveys
- Coordination with Local Law Enforcement
- Online Reporting
- Institutional Task Forces
Commissioner Reed also shared with the Board for future consideration a range of potential amendments to the Uniform Policy aimed at increasing transparency and accountability among higher education stakeholders. Those considerations included additional reporting of sexual harassment training completion to Regents (as well as the Division of Administration), compliance certification by campus presidents, and multi-year audits of campus sexual misconduct policy and practices, along with management board training around Title IX with mandatory, routine reporting of active cases.
Looking ahead, Commissioner Reed will attend the second meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children this Friday to hear continued testimony on the topic of sexual assault and how it has been handled by campus leaders. Reed says that it is important for Regents to serve as a resource for students, families, legislators, and others seeking solutions to make colleges and universities safe places for learning and growth.