NewsNews Briefs: 9/26

Updates to Title IX regulations, upcoming surveillance testing.
Dana NicholsSeptember 23, 2020693 min
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illustration by Kate Nuelle

Updates to Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

In response to updated regulations released by the Department of Education in mid-May, the Trinity Board of Trustees has approved amendments to the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. Included in these updates are changes to what classifies as prohibited misconduct, the assumption of innocence for the accused and required training for all students.

Training will be conducted through Sage Colleges, including mandatory trainings and supplementary trainings. Students will be receiving an email from Safe Colleges soon.

In order to be considered a violation of Title IX, incidents must take place in the U.S., after Aug. 14 of this year and while someone is participating in or attempting to participate in Trinity education programs or activities. Incidents that fall outside of this narrow definition may still be addressed, but as university prohibited conduct rather than Title IX prohibited conduct. Initial steps remain the same regardless of which reporting track they fall under.

After Angela Miranda-Clark, university compliance officer and Title IX Coordinator, receives a report from a mandatory reporter, someone will reach out to the individual to offer supportive measures and information about their rights under the policy, which include the right to supportive services, to file a formal complaint and the right to notify law enforcement.

Once a formal complaint is filed, the accused will be notified of the allegations made and determination of whether or not there was a violation will be made based on the preponderance of the evidence standard —when there is a greater than 50% chance it is true. Both the accused, or Respondent, and the Complainant maintain the same rights throughout the process, including supportive services, review of evidence and a trained process advisor.

Most university employees remain mandatory reporters of sexual harassment and misconduct, required to inform Miranda-Clark if made aware of an incident. Confidential resources are Counseling Services counselors, medical professionals of Health Services, University Chaplain, and Athletic Trainers; while these staff members do have reporting requirements, they are severely limited.

Links to the pages to report an incident of sexual harassment or misconduct are at the bottom of every trinity.edu webpage.

Surveillance testing to continue, new test replacement

Surveillance testing of a sample of 100 students, faculty and staff conducted on Sept. 10-11 resulted in zero positive tests. A second round of testing will take place Sept. 24-25, this time with 200 participants.

Fifty of the 200 will be volunteers based on a combination of criteria: Students that commute to campus, who have been in large gatherings, that work off-campus and those who have returned to the San Antonio area since Sept. 7. The other 150 tested will be students, faculty and staff representing proportions of specific cohorts as in the first round.

Surveillance tests are conducted to monitor the presence and spread of COVID-19 within a population.

This round of testing will be conducted using the rapid antigen point-of-care test, which provides a result within fifteen minutes. Baseline and the first round of surveillance testing were conducted using the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swab test.

Although point-of-care tests have demonstrated lower sensitivity rates, they report specificity rates similar to that of PCR tests. PCR tests remain the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, according to the CDC.

Should the second round of testing go well with the use of the point-of-care tests, the frequency of surveillance testing may increase to a weekly basis.

Dana Nichols

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