1/30/20 Selectboard Meeting MInutes
Selectboard Clerk Felix, January 30, 2020
30 January 2020
Selectboard Meeting Minutes
Minutes are taken by Selectboard clerk Felix and reflect to the best of my ability what goes on during Selectboard meeting. With comments or questions please comment here or email email@example.com.
(Present: Charlie, Izzy, Felix, Seth, Ritu, Ariana, Tanner, Patrick)
(Patrick is here to talk about Title IX)
Patrick: these are unusual times… some of the ways we’ve operated for many years aren’t appropriate given where we are and what the future looks like, but at the same time my role in many ways is to be an advocate for students, and to be a conscience for both students and the community in different aspects, and to make sure that our students, even the ones who are the quietest and not the loudest voices at TM or other forums are fully supported and cared for in every aspect of those words. So from my seat it’s become very clear over the past twelve weeks now that our Title IX policies and procedures are lacking, and do not do what they need to do to support students on either side of the reporting of a Title IX complaint, and in many ways have the ability to lead to more harm for students who come forward with an issue around Title IX, so after a great deal of thought and consultation, a number of conversations with our attorney, I’ve made the decision to put in place this spring an interim set of policies and procedures around Title IX. There’s a few things, Title IX is one of those pieces of policy and procedure that actually sit outside of community governance and rightfully so, because there are some things that, while it’s important that as a community we all have input, the decision needs to be made by people who have the expertise… Title IX is fraught from a legal perspective but also more importantly from a care and concern perspective… when a policy goes through community governance, the end result is not always appropriate, or it’s not supporting students to the level that it possibly could. Title IX is currently not supporting students to the level that it should or could. Talking with our attorney, we came to the conclusion that believe it or not Emerson’s policies stand head and shoulders above ours, level of detail, methodology, how clearly the process is laid out, I’ll be honest, I had a whole other institution in my brain, as I was talking to our attorney she said “have you looked at Emerson’s,” I said it was well-done and very thoughtful, I will be introducing this to the community next week, there will be pushback, in some ways it’s pushing against our norms at the moment, of what we’ve held for community governance, but I personally could not do my role and feel good about the work I do knowing that our Title IX policies/procedures are not supporting students, as language goes this is the hill I’m willing to die on. From a liability perspective, because we’re ceasing operations and merging, we could limp along for three months, we would not be held liable to the extent if we were staying open, it has nothing to do with liability, it’s about care and concern
Felix: what are some of the differences?
Patrick: in a word document, our entire policies and procedures are five pages. Emerson’s are roughly thirty. Which shows you the difference in the level of detail… their process is laid out step by step by step, very thoughtful, very clear, including dealing with most if not all possibilities, conflicts of interest, retribution, retaliation, things that currently our policy lacks, we have our policies in place, we do not have a clear set of procedures around investigation, paneling a group to make a decision, our appeal process is vague at best and actually what our appeal panel is able to do in terms of their decision making is inappropriate and not best practice and not in keeping with recommendations from both the trauma-informed perspective and the department of education. Their process uses a dual investigator model which is best practice now, we use single-investigator, they connect their process to their judicial piece, in alignment but not overlapping, which we don’t do, it runs very silent and separate, and they use a more trauma-informed set of processes and procedures than we have
Izzy: I really appreciate your commitment to doing this
Seth: I appreciate coming up with something that’s prepackaged
Patrick: even if we were remaining open, continuing the course, I would still be doing this, and I would create space for feedback, even though some of that feedback would not be able to be acted on, we’re in interesting times, given our circumstances, if we went through a typical process, it would be May if we came to any resolution, would not do a service to students
Seth: it’s funny that it’s the Emerson model, I’m worried that if the new policy looks formulated, bringing the Emerson piece into it could be a potential stumbling block
Patrick: I struggled with that piece, other institutions are of the same caliber, I chose Emerson partly after having read it, it’s very thoughtful and compassionate, but also as we’re looking at an alliance, it felt helpful in some ways that maybe this is a bridge for some of our students, we have done a lot of work, recrafting language, it’s not just a cut-and-paste job, using Marlboro language, while it’s following their exact model, it’s really making sure that all of the language we use is Marlboro language
Seth: the other thing I want to say is an observation, you know this better than I do, no matter how good and up-to-date and respectful, you’re going to get to the end of cases, and people are going to feel disrespected, stamped upon
Patrick: the unfortunate part of Title IX is that no matter how a case ends up, one or both parties are going to feel hurt in the process
Felix: it starts with a hurt
Seth: going through the system compounds the hurt
Patrick: we’re asking flawed people to make flawed decisions about flawed people, and what we ask of colleges right now in this area is pretty amazing in terms of the bar we set when we compare it to almost anything else in terms of policies, procedures… the expectation is so high for Title IX that it’s nearly impossible to meet even on the best campus on the best day.
So I’ll be announcing it at TM, accepting two or three questions about the why, not the details or any of those pieces, we could spend days talking about the details, and then immediately following the policies will be sent out to the community and the website will be updated
Charlie: send me the policies so I can attach to the agenda
Patrick: I’ll have it on Monday
Tanner: do you want it out before Town Meeting?
Patrick: why not?
Charlie: also would be helpful to send to Emmanuel
Town Meeting Agenda
- Graduation resolution read-in
- Title IX policy presentation
- Committee reports
(moved, seconded, passed)