To President Tim Sands, Virginia Tech Administration, Office of Equity and Accessibility (Title IX), Student Conduct, Virginia Tech Police Department, Human Resources and the Women’s Center
With the new Title IX changes from the Department of Education, social media content surrounding the prevalence of sexual violence at Virginia Tech, and subsequent outrage from students, action is needed now more than ever.
Students view the Title IX process as long, invasive and ineffective for achieving justice. With this poor perception, the issue of sexual violence is only furthered. Survivors deserve better support during Title IX and Student Conduct investigations. The Virginia Tech community needs transparency and to see a clear commitment from the University in supporting survivors.
1. Permanently expel students found guilty of rape through Student Conduct.
2. Human Resources must enforce the mandatory Title IX training for employees. Employees may not work if they have not completed the Title IX training or the training has lapsed. Further, the Title IX training must be easily accessible to all Virginia Tech community members.
3. VTPD must provide more timely warnings of sexual violence involving Virginia Tech community members, specifically releasing monthly summaries when individual cases are unable to be disclosed. These emails must include content warnings and language must not downplay sexual assault (Ex. the use of “forcible fondling”).
4. Title IX information must be added to the University communications plan, in order for students to directly receive emails from the Title IX office. Students should be sent accessible explanations of the Title IX process, updates about policy changes, and receive support resources when needed.
5. The University must make Virginia Tech community members aware of all Title IX committees, working groups and advisories and provide updates on their progress each semester, or summer if applicable.
6. An external, independent investigation of the Title IX and Student Conduct processes must be made. The investigation findings must be published and a commitment to following through on the recommendations for improvement must be made.
7. Hire BIPOC counselors and staff at the Women's Center, in ratios that are representative of the student body.
8. An online portal should be created to allow students to check the status of their Title IX case. Investigators are required to post an update on every submitted case at least once every two weeks. Deadlines should be imposed, so as to prevent assailants from prolonging the investigation process.
9. Support survivors
a) Allow the victim to have a reasonable healing time that is decided in conjunction with the victim, with the recognition that the time can vary on a case-to-case basis.
b) Title IX/Student Conduct Investigators must have a form with a set list of questions for asking the victim, including asking for any medical documentation.
i. Ex: Date, Time, Incident, People, Witnesses, Injuries, Consent
c) Character statements of the assailant should not be taken into account by the hearing officer.
d) A statement by the victim, either verbal or written, is the last official word heard during the hearing.
e) Clearer grounds for appeal
i. Expand description of acceptable grounds for appeal and provide more comprehensive rationale for why an appeal is denied.
United Feminist Movement at Virginia Tech
To view all of the student organizations signed on in solidarity- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P9GIeHQNsvBedJK3zJA2nMoWgoh2ndJook-sNvSDzOQ/edit?usp=sharing
To sign as an individual- https://forms.gle/5y6t5hdP9EvJtNMH7