After more than a year of work on a new sexual assault policy at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Title IX Office at the university will make its draft available to the public at a forum Nov. 18.
The policy was drafted to meet new Board of Regents, state and federal guidelines, which include extended definitions of what constitutes prohibited sexual conduct and harassment, as well as what is considered retaliation and intimidation against any person who has made an allegation of prohibited sexual conduct or of any person who has assisted in an investigation.
The proposed policy was developed by the university’s Title IX Task Force, which was created in 2014 by UL-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie and Provost James Henderson. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
“We tried to make it a much more detailed set of policies and procedures so that anyone who would have to experience a situation like this would know kind of step-by-step how things are handled,” said task for member Megan Breaux.
This Policy on Prohibited Sexual Conduct was submitted to the University Council on Oct. 12. An interim policy was adopted Sept. 30 in order to meet state and federal deadlines. The interim policy will expire on Jan. 31, or when a permanent policy is adopted.
The Nov. 18 forum, which is open to the public, will begin at 3 p.m. in Bayou Bijou at the UL-Lafayette Student Union.
The policy is available to students on their ULINK page.
Any comments and changes will be discussed Nov. 23 when the University Council considers the formal adoption of the policy.
There were three reported incidents of rape at UL-Lafayette from 2012-2014, according to the 2015 Annual Security Report released in October by university police and the Office of Public Safety.
That number of rapes is below the national average of 6.1 sexual assaults for every 1,000 students, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The lack of a statewide policy for handling sexual assault allegations on university and college campuses was brought to light after a report was released by the state Board of Regents in September of 2014.