Toogood should focus on sexual harassment

In his interview with the Daily, Mickey Toogood discussed how he would make the handling of judicial processes more efficient as the new judicial affairs administrator. Among several important issues at Tufts — alcohol and substance abuse and academic integrity — Toogood should also focus on Title IX. Although the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is responsible for processing and mediating sexual harassment complaints, the judicial affairs office is responsible for formally investigating complaints.

With the recent backlash against the Tufts administration from the United States Department of Education for their lack of efficiency and management in investigating the complaint of a student in 2010, Toogood should be extra attentive to his office’s role in sexual harassment cases. Since Toogood is collaborating with the Committee on Student Life (CSL) to update the Student Judicial Process document, he can better influence how sexual harassment complaints are processed through the judicial system at Tufts. The Student Judicial Code provides no timeline for when sexual harassment complaints should be processed. Additionally, there are no restrictions on accused sexual offenders’ participation in class and other school activities until the complaint has been processed by the judicial affairs office and the OEO.

For people who have suffered from any type of sexual harassment, the lack of strict protocol is unacceptable. Toogood must focus on improving this part of the code just as much as on other issues, if not more.

President Anthony Monaco’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Task Force is the formal body of faculty, administrators and student representatives who are in charge of continually evaluating and improving the university’s response to sexual misconduct matters by talking to the school community. Aside from the task force, Toogood can also connect to the Tufts community by reaching out to students directly, as he did by attending Fall Gala and fraternity party training.

Toogood wants to be an accessible and welcoming figure among the Tufts community, especially among the student population. A prime opportunity for his direct involvement would be the Title IX Teach-In on Oct. 3. The Title IX Teach-In will be hosted by the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies, Educational Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Programs. It will be a forum of students, faculty and administrators to stimulate communication between different parts of the community regarding sexual harassment and policy at Tufts.

The Teach-In is a perfect place for Toogood to start his active role in improving Tufts’ treatment of sexual harassment and Title IX on campus.