Overview of Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Audits, Assessments, and Training
As nationally-recognized experts in Title IX, Stafford and her team have assisted many institutions in coming into and maintaining their compliance with federal law by providing various services, all of which can be provided virtually upon request of an institution (which allows for a more flexible schedule and travel cost savings). These services include the following:
Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy Services
D. Stafford & Associates has several options to fit the unique needs of institutions as it relates to complying with the existing Title IX Regulations and the VAWA provisions of the Clery Act. Services range from a basic review of an existing policy that identifies where the institution is out of compliance with federal law to a full policy redevelopment that creates a federal and state law compliant policy. DSA will draft language for insertion into employee and faculty handbooks and student codes of conduct. Policy Services always incorporate stakeholder input and aim to meet the unique needs of each institution.
Title IX Hearing Services
Mock Hearing Exercise (Conducted Virtually)
The Mock Hearing Exercise is an interactive simulation where your institution’s Title IX Personnel and others involved in hearings will practice conducting a hearing from start to finish. The Exercise will assist the institution in meeting the requirements of the existing title IX Regulations specific to conducting a hearing as well as the training requirements that rest within the Clery Act at 34 C.F.R. §668.46(k)(2)(ii).
DSA experts will conduct the Mock Hearing Exercise utilizing the institution’s specific policy, procedures, and/or hearing script.
Following the exercise, the DSA facilitator will conduct an exercise debrief with personnel and provide feedback on what went well in addition to identifying potential areas for improvement. Client institutions will be given the option of choosing one of two scenarios developed by DSA and outlined in the scope.
After Hearing Review Service (Conducted Virtually)
Have you conducted one or more live hearings under the existing Title IX Regulations? Did your team debrief on what went well, what didn’t, and what needs to be improved for future live hearings?
A DSA Title IX expert will review the notice documents, investigative report, and hearing transcript/recording* of a completed hearing. Following this review, DSA will facilitate a virtual discussion with your Title IX team to provide institutional stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback regarding the process and insight from experts on how the institution can improve the live hearing process.
Individualized Consulting Prior to Upcoming Hearings
DSA offers institutions assistance in preparing for upcoming live hearings. This customized consulting ranges from providing support for a pre-hearing conference to drafting the hearing script and can include any of the following options:
- How to prepare for a live hearing;
- Receive a refresher on the requirements of Title IX as it relates to the live hearing requirement;
- Logistics for the live hearing (considerations in setting up the live hearing process using technology);
- The ABC’s of the pre-hearing conference with parties and their advisors;
- Recommendations on drafting the hearing script; and/or
- Other topics as determined by the institution’s needs.
Sexual Misconduct (Title IX & Non-Title IX) Investigations
D. Stafford & Associates has a team of highly-skilled investigators whose experience prepares them to provide independent Sexual Misconduct Investigations for colleges and universities. DSA investigators are experienced in conducting investigations involving Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, in addition to other student conduct violations, civil rights allegations, and employment issues. DSA investigators specialize in conducting fair, thorough, and impartial investigations and are experienced with and attuned to the culture of higher education and the requirements of Title IX, Clery Act (VAWA), and various state laws.
D. Stafford & Associates is a United Educators (UE) approved service provider for sexual misconduct investigation services, and more than 10 DSA investigators have been approved by UE to conduct investigations on behalf of UE member institutions.
DSA investigators can be retained to investigate other forms of misconduct and civil rights violations that are not related to Sexual Misconduct. You can learn more about our independent incident investigation services here.
Many institutions utilize DSA investigative services if they do not have a volume of cases sufficient to justify hiring and training an investigator. Alternatively, there are institutions that use DSA to supplement their current investigative staff due to high volume of complaints or a particularly complex incident. In other cases, institutions use DSA when they have a high-profile case, have an accusation of bias in their process and require and external investigator, or a complaint in which an actual or perceived conflict of interest is most effectively remedied by employing an outside, impartial, and seasoned investigative team. Investigative references are available upon request.
Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Training Classes for Institutions, Consortia, or Systems of Higher Education
D. Stafford & Associates provides on-site or live, virtual training classes for individual institutions of higher education as well as consortia or systems that wish to bring Title IX and VAWA training to their employees/members. DSA will suggest the involvement of various campus administrators, depending on the identified needs of the institution.
DSA has numerous options for classes that can be offered for an individual institution or group, as listed below. If a campus is having a specific challenge in certain areas of complying with Title IX and/or VAWA and would like the training to focus on those areas, DSA can customize the training to fit the institution’s needs.
DSA has provided on-site or live, virtual training sessions for hundreds of institutions across the country. In addition to the popular Title IX Investigator and Decision-Maker training courses, DSA regularly meets the employee training needs of institutions from Title IX Mandated Reporters to facilitated round-table discussions with the senior leadership.
Most Frequently Requested Standard On-Site or Live, Virtual Class Options
- Title IX High Level Overview: 2-4 hour
- Title IX/VAWA for Board of Trustees/Regents- Legal Overview: 30 minutes to 2 hours
- Title IX (Detailed Overview): 1 Day
- Title IX Coordinator Training: 2 Day
- Title IX Investigator Training (Sexual Harassment & Violence): 2 Day
- Title IX Investigation Training (Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, & Stalking): 2 Day Class
- Title IX Mandated Reporter Training: 90 minutes
- Senior Leadership Round Table Discussion: 1-2 Hours,
- Title IX Decision Maker Training (see below)
- Title IX Advisor Training (see below)
- Appellate Officer Training (see below)
Title IX Decision-Maker Training
DSA offers a live, virtual Title IX Decision-Maker Training Class designed for individual institutions (this class is not available for consortia or systems, as the class is informed by each individual institution’s Title IX Policy and Procedures). The class is appropriate for your staff who are responsible for responding to allegations of Sexual Misconduct. The class provides decision-makers with the tools needed to make fair and impartial determinations and addresses the training topics mandated by the 2020 Title IX Regulations and the Clery Act at 34 C.F.R. §668.46(k)(2)(ii). The class can be held for 7 hours in one day or it can be broken up into 3.5 hour sessions that are held over two consecutive days.
The class will provide training on the definition of sexual harassment; the scope of the recipient’s education program or activity; conducting hearings; impartiality, including avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias; using technology at a live hearing; and issues of relevance of questions and evidence; and other institution-specific issues related to hearings and decision-making.
This class will include training on the following:
- The definition of sexual harassment in § 106.30,
- The scope of the recipient’s education program or activity
- Training on any technology to be used at a live hearing
- How to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable
- Issues of relevance of questions and evidence
- Including when questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant
- How to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.
Title IX Advisor Training
DSA offers a virtual title IX Advisor Training Class designed for individual institutions (this class is not available for consortia or systems, as the class is informed by each individual institution’s procedures and practices). The class is appropriate for individuals who will be serving in the role of advisor to parties in a sexual misconduct complaint. The class will be held for 4 hours in one day or it can be broken up into 2 hour sessions that are held over two consecutive days.
The class will provide training on the Title IX regulations; the role of the advisor; participating in hearings; relevant issues related to technology; relevance of questions and evidence; and other institution-specific issues related to hearings and advisors.
Appellate Officer Training
This 4-hour virtual training class is specifically designed for Appeals Officers. DSA can be contracted to provide this class for individual institutions. The class is also offered by NACCOP, a DSA partner organization, where individuals can register for the class (go to www.naccop.org to see available class options).
The Appellate Officer Training class will provide training required by the 2020 Title IX regulations to Decision Makers tasked with hearing appeals for Title IX complaints. The class will include the instructors facilitating a mock appeal whereby attendee(s) will practically apply what they learned to determine an appellate outcome.
The 4-hour course will include training on the following (items in quotations are required by the Title IX regulations for all Decision Makers):
- Fulfills the basic Title IX requirements for appellate decision-makers (Definition of sexual harassment, scope of the recipient’s education program or activity, how to conduct the appeal, and how to serve impartially)
- Conducting an appeal for Title IX Signed Formal Complaint dismissals as well as original findings from live hearings
- The three required grounds for appeals
- Determining timeliness of appeal
- Determining if appellate grounds have been met
- Determining appeal outcomes based on provided information
- Ensuring a bias-free decision-making process
- Identifying conflicts of interest