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OTC leads in offering others Title IX training


Recently, national universities, including Ivy League institutions, have received unwanted headlines for their handling of sexual assault cases. Those high-profile cases have shone a light on the issue.



Ozarks Technical Community College has been a leader in offering its staff and personnel from other institutions in-depth training in investigating Title IX reports.



In June, more than 100 representatives from across the country came to Springfield for a two-day conference sponsored by OTC and Drury University. The two higher education institutions first came together in the spring of 2013 for a collaborative Title IX training.



“The training was in response to what the federal Department of Education is expecting in terms of investigating student sexual assault and harassment reports,” said Julia Edwards, assistant dean, disability support services and Title IX coordinator for students. “That’s what we all worked on. We are trying to be more proactive here. Were very interested in making things safe for students.



A total of 14 OTC team members participated in the training along with attendees from nine states that included some from as far away as Ohio and Tennessee.



There are plans for OTC and Drury to host another Title IX training in June 2015.



“Our presenter, Saunie Schuster, from the National Center on Higher Education Risk Management, was highly complementary of our collaboration with Drury staff,” Edwards said. “She was also surprised that the conference drew participants from so many different states. The next session in 2015 illustrates further collaboration we have with the National Center on Higher Education Risk Management.”



Edwards, who has been handling Title IX cases for OTC for a number of years, said training is on-going throughout the year to properly investigate reports she and others on the Title IX investigation team handle, which average about 10-12 a year.



“The explosion of social media use as a harassment tool has added to more incidents of bullying on the Internet and intimidating texts being sent,” she said.



Edwards said training is planned for students about responsibility, informed consent and their rights in the process of civil rights investigations.



In deciding what action to take in student cases, it is the preponderance of the evidence standard and not the criminal-based beyond a reasonable doubt standard that determines if disciplinary action is taken against a student.



“The federal government, as well as OTC, insists on students being safe,” Edwards said. “Even off-campus incidents can have campus implications. We are responsible to look into them all.”

Contributors

College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655

Email: publicinfo@otc.edu

Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666

Email: koehlers@otc.edu

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