Timed to coincide with the start of classes, UNC announced an updated "Policy on Prohibited Harassment, Including Sexual Misconduct, and/or Discrimination" that aims to ensure compliance with guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The new policies reaffirm the university's commitment to the campus Ombuds Office as a confidential resource for students and employees.
As a result of the revisions, the UNC policy now:
• Includes complaints of sexual misconduct as a form of sexual harassment as required by the U.S. Department of Education;
• Includes a mechanism for responding to student complaints of harassment, sexual misconduct and/or discrimination involving other students;
• Provides information about options available for informal and formal resolution of student complaints of harassment, including sexual misconduct, and discrimination involving other students;
• Provides for the investigation of student complaints of harassment, including sexual misconduct, and discrimination involving other students by the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office;
• Identifies a Student Complaint Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Officer for Students as the contact person for students with harassment and discrimination complaints involving other students;
• Provides examples of interim protective measures available to student complainants; and
• Includes a list of resources for students affected by harassment, including sexual misconduct, and discrimination.
In addition, an email from UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp reaffirms the commitment to a confidential Ombuds program:
Confidential consulting is available for students through Campus Health Services, Counseling and Wellness Services (966-3658), and for students and employees through the Ombuds Office (843-8204). The University can guarantee complete confidentiality only when a student shares a concern with Counseling and Wellness Services and when a student or an employee shares a concern with the Ombuds Office that does not involve an imminent risk of serious harm.
The UNC Ombuds are Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov. (UNC News.)
Related posts: Columbia University Updates Gender-Based Misconduct Policy; Ombuds Exempt from Reporting; Yale President Rejects Proposal for Ombuds Office; Lessons From a Case of Sexual Harassment; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Ombuds Offers Confidentiality for Sexual Assault Victims; Alumnus Criticizes Yale's Refusal to Create an Ombuds Office; Havard Law Case Study Focuses on Ombuds and the 'Dear Colleague Letter'.