Well ladies and gents, I have officially completed the first item on my 30 before 30 list.
This past week, I spent a couple days in Oklahoma City to participate in the ATIXA Title IX Investigator Training & Certification Course. The course was centered around what to do in the instance of sexual misconduct claims, how universities need to respond, and how individuals should investigate.
These cases are tricky because of the sensitivity and volatility of the situations. There are often times criminal proceedings that coincide with the university's adjudication of the case, not to mention the potential humanistic impacts of all parties involved, making each and every decision by the university extremely critical. For years, schools have gotten it wrong, often trying to treat these cases like every other student conduct issue that crosses our desks, trying to cover up details to save face, and making many missteps along the way. As a field, we've been trying to do the right thing, regardless of what that means down the road. In cases of rape (or sexual assaults of any degree), there is one shot to do the right thing.
We learned about court cases that have shaped the current laws and policies that we have in place, the huge role that the investigator plays, how to treat all people involved with equity and be a neutral entity, and how to ensure the integrity of the process, regardless of what the outcomes are. Insert a lot of graphic stories and examples, and a lot of nuances and subtleties to different situations, and it was a really heavy but informative weekend. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is a critical skill that higher ed administrators need to possess, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. I learned A LOT, and will be able to use this certification to be a better professional in my field.