A new Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy passed this week, after nearly a two-year process of writing multiple drafts and amassing community input. The final draft was first passed during Friday’s Senate meeting with a vote of 8-1. It was then sent to the faculty on Monday and passed with a vote of 75-6, with five abstentions.
Over the past couple decades, as laws concerning sexual assault changed, Reed’s sexual harassment policy became out of date. The new policy, drafted by a working group consisting of senators Danielle Juncal and Annam Swanson, and faculty members Paul Hovda and Janis Shampay, was made to be consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments, as well as other applicable laws and regulations.
An alternate policy drafted solely by professors Robert Knapp and Mark Hinchliff, known as the Discriminatory Harassment and Sex-Based Harassment policy (DHSBH), was also discussed during both the Senate and Faculty meetings, though it was not brought to the floor for a vote.
Senate had two options last Friday: If they passed the DHSM document, it would then be voted on by the faculty; if they refused to vote on it, both the DHSM and DHSBH documents would be sent to the faculty for a vote. During the Senate meeting, many students expressed their support for the DHSM, arguing that it was more in line with Reed’s community norms than the DHSBH was. Reed Student Advocates voiced their approval of the DHSM document, with a nod to the sections on consent.
“The DHSM tries to go beyond the law and tries to ensure that community norms are upheld within the policy,” Student Body Vice President Paul Messick said during the meeting.
Even after Senate approved the DHSM document, the DHSBH was still discussed during the faculty meeting.
“What motivated me in producing an alternate was to try to come up with something that would work out the necessary objections that we had with the draft sent to Senate in March,” Knapp said.
Hinchliff expressed concern that the language in specific parts of the DHSM policy did not meet current laws and regulations.
Professor Paul Hovda, who helped write the DHSM document, responded: “This working group was aware of all of those concerns weeks ago, and we thought through them and made our judgments, and we would be happy to talk and defend every one of them.”
Hovda also noted at both the Faculty and Senate meetings that Knapp and Hinchliff were heavily involved in the drafting of the DHSM document.
Many faculty members voiced their support for the DHSM because of the extensive soliciting of community input that went into writing it.
“It has been procedurally represented,” professor David Garrett said. “It has done so aggressively engaging the Honor Principle in a way that is clear and accessible to all members of the community.”
Over a year ago, a committee was formed under former president Colin Diver to construct a new policy for Reed. Drafts were sent to the Community Affairs Committee (CAC) last February, after which an updated draft was sent to Senate in April. Though Senate passed the document, the faculty argued that they did not have enough of a voice in the process. Senate rescinded their decision and resolved to continue work on the policy over the summer to allow more time for community input.
Feedback from students and faculty was solicited through an online Survey Monkey, which the working group got back in July and used while drafting the final document. Knapp and Hinchliff sent drafts of their alternative DHSBH policy to the Reed community by email in August.
The DHSM policy will become effective Sept. 20. A copy of the document can be found at: http://www.reed.edu/academic/gbook/comm_pol/dhsm_policy.html