Dear Editor,

On Sept. 22, the Tufts Daily ran an editorial about the appointment and responsibilities of Tufts’ new Judicial Affairs Administrator Mickey Toogood. That editorial included some significant factual errors. Given the critical importance of the issue of sexual misconduct prevention to the entire Tufts community, we ask that the Daily quickly set the record straight both in print and online.

1. The Office of Equal Opportunity — not the judicial affairs administrator or any other member of the Dean of Student Affairs Office — is responsible for investigating reports of sexual harassment and all other forms of sexual misconduct. Once the OEO investigation concludes, an independent and experienced three-person panel is convened by OEO to review the facts. This Sexual Misconduct Adjudication panel (SMAP) determines whether there is a sexual misconduct policy violation and, if there is, what disciplinary sanction is appropriate. Once the SMAP panel issues their final decision, the appropriate school dean implements his or her sanction.

2. Sexual misconduct is not processed or adjudicated within the Student Judicial Process as the editorial stated. It is addressed through a separate Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Policy and that policy provides a 60-day guideline for conclusion of cases. Most cases are resolved much sooner than that. Occasionally these types of matters may take longer than 60 days because of the nature of the reported incident, if an investigation spans breaks or holidays or the readiness of the complainant to move forward. In academic year 2013-2014, 94 percent of cases were resolved in fewer than 60 days.

3. The editorial incorrectly stated that 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 Administrator. Again the OEO, not the judicial affairs administrator, processes all such complaints, and interim measures can be and are imposed before the OEO investigation concludes. The judicial affairs administrator does administer Stay Away Requests and No Contact Orders that may be attached to specific OEO reports or result from allegations. Our new Sexual Misconduct Resource Specialist Nandi Bynoe will assist in this process starting in October.

4. The editorial referred only to sexual harassment, but that is just one form of sexual misconduct. Tufts has a comprehensive policy to address sexual misconduct in all its forms, including sex/gender based harassment and discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination, sexual exploitation, stalking and relationship/dating/domestic violence. It is important for our community to know this.

Signed,

Jill Zellmer                                                                           Mary Pat McMahon
Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity                  Dean of Student Affairs, AS&E
and Title IX Coordinator


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