Message from the Task Force Co-Chairs Sumangala Bhattacharya and Laura Troendle
March 8, 2022
The TIX Task Force has met four times now on 1/28, 2/4, 2/11, 2/25, and 3/4 (one week was missed due to conflict with the Board of Trustees meeting), and thus far our focus has been listening to input from community members. Our primary intention these first few weeks was to create a shared understanding about TIX constraints and what we needed to solve to better support our community members when dealing with instances of sexual assault or misconduct. At our first task force meeting, we agreed that we will need to invite many guests to provide input and expertise in our work. While we wanted to keep the task force small and nimble due to the breath of those we represent, we would often invite others to our meetings and in these first few meetings, we have had several guests. Student guests came to ask questions and share concerns, two staff from Student Affairs came to share their concerns and suggestions based on their front-line experience with supporting students, and Alyssa-Rae came to speak about the TIX law, the challenges that it creates for the coordinator role to be emotionally supportive, and her suggestions for additional resources. We attended a faculty meeting on 2/10 to provide the faculty some background on TIX law and the constraints it causes to challenge the emotional support for those involved. Additionally, many faculty spoke out about their experiences in participating in writing TIX process, and challenges in supporting students through the implementation of such processes when the resources were not there. The recount of the faculty shined a light on how young this administrative area of TIX is, although there has been considerable and ongoing need to improve the college’s response to sexual assault and misconduct. This also highlighted the need for an ongoing oversight body that can respond to changing laws and changing community needs to ensure that the topic remains on the forefront so that improvement can continue to be made in preventative education and programming.
In our meeting on 3/4 the task force members reviewed and edited the summary of our findings to ensure a shared starting point and then identify next steps for choosing action steps to implement. There are themes of resource needs that continue to emerge, primarily to have at least one additional person in the TIX office that can work more closely with the victims and accused in counseling support, as well as a mechanism to support and coordinate any accommodations that can be made to improve a sense of security and support for those involved.
There were many details shared among our various meetings and discussions, but the shortfalls we had identified continued to fall within three categories:
- Development of Pitzer specific trauma informed well-being support for survivors and respondents
- Prevention and education about sexual assault and misconduct for students and employees
- TIX sexual assault and misconduct staff, policy, process & coordination
Also in our 3/4 meeting, we identified some action items. Immediate next steps:
- Create expanded counseling hours for survivors and respondents through ARC Counseling & Wellness
- Provide financial support for survivors and respondents to obtain off campus counseling and well-being resources
- A subcommittee of the task force is creating a document of what we heard from community members to share broadly in April.
- Subcommittee for prevention and education about sexual assault and misconduct for students and employees. We are going to identify recommendations for additional membership on this work and provide initial ideas with a goal of pilot implementation for Fall of 2022.
As Co-Chairs and as a task force we acknowledge the pain of the survivors and all those who have been victims of sexual assault or misconduct. As a task force, we are committed to implementing outcomes, which will ensure better support for all those involved while maintaining appropriate legal procedures to provide a just outcome to the extent possible. We also hope that we can support training and programming, which will lower the number of cases to begin with. This is complex and emotionally challenging work, and we assembled the task force anticipating that this will go into the next academic year. In recent meetings, we have discussed the potential need for an ongoing TIX and Sexual Misconduct task force. While we are committed to meeting regularly and diligently focusing on actionable results, we acknowledge that it will take work to identify the best way forward.