Union members get pass from new EMU sex assault policy

A new sexual misconduct policy at Eastern Michigan University requires all cases to be reviewed by the Title IX office, unless of course they involve unionized employees.

At its most recent meeting on June 21, the EMU Board of Regents approved the “Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy,” which sets forth new standards and expectations of the university community with regards to sexual misconduct, ending the practice of handling such cases through the Student Code of Conduct.

The new policy edits and clarifies existing policies on the expectations of conduct, and also provides direction on how a filed complaint will be investigated.

Notably, the new procedure dictates that all allegations of sexual misconduct involving students will now be investigated by the university’s Title IX department, although any complaints regarding faculty, staff, or third parties will continue to be processed under “existing collective bargaining agreements.”

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“The policy is one policy covering everyone, but the procedures do diverge," EMU Title IX Coordinator Melody Warner told MLive. "We have a separate, new procedure for students, but complaints against faculty and staff are ultimately investigated the same way as they were in the past through the human resources office."

Campus Reform reached out to EMU to discuss the discrepancies in the new policy, but was advised to contact individual unions for their take on the matter. None, however, replied to requests for comment by press time.

Additionally, the new policy maintains the expectation that all faculty and staff members are required to report instances of sexual misconduct, unless the information is ascertained through a legally privileged conversation, such as with a counselor or a physician.

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The policy officially takes effect on July 1, 2016, and includes an automatic annual review process to identify potential improvements in future years.

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