Statement By President Michael Geisler Regarding Title IX Cases


Statement By President Michael Geisler Regarding Title IX Cases

March 9, 2017 • Anonymous

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Several members of the Manhattanville community have recently asked about the College’s response to a case involving a student who has spoken out about how our Title IX office handled her sexual assault complaint.

First and foremost, I want to stress that Manhattanville takes sexual assault very seriously. Nothing is – or ever will be – more important to me, my administration and our College staff than making sure our campus is a safe and caring place, where Manhattanville students can learn and thrive without fear.

The College also has made clear it does not tolerate sexual discrimination in any form, which under the College's Title IX policy includes sexual violence and sexual assault.

In terms of commenting on individual cases, however, the College must remain silent because of Title IX confidentiality requirements. Even if one or both parties publicly disclose details, the College is legally prohibited from breaching this confidentiality under U.S. Dept. of Education regulations, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and our own student judicial policies.

As for any concerns about our overall response to sexual assault, or whether we care about victims of sexual violence, those I can and will address.

VP for Student Affairs Dr. Donna Eddleman, who serves as our Title IX Coordinator, has been involved in college student affairs for 30 years –and has worked extensively with Title IX in various roles for 19 years. She has dedicated her life to resolving student conflicts, providing support to sexual assault victims and pursuing justice in Title IX cases.

Manhattanville’s Title IX policies and procedures are virtually identical to the model regulations recommended by the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), the most authoritative source for best-practice training and implementation in the Title IX field. Our investigators have undergone ATIXA training, as well as additional instruction on proper and sensitive interviewing techniques.

Our Title IX investigations are thorough. Two investigators look at every complaint so that cases are never determined based on any one person’s opinion. Furthermore, if either the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the results of the investigation or the sanctions, he or she can appeal the case to a hearing panel of three highly trained members who are independent of the Title IX office.

In short, I want to assure you that we do everything possible to treat sexual assault victims with dignity and compassion, and to adjudicate sexual assault cases with justice and integrity. In the case that has been referenced, I have no evidence to suggest that our Title IX office deviated from stated procedures at any stage.

I want to stress that my door is always open for anyone who has questions about this – or any other safety issue. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, if you wish to discuss this further. Thank you so much.

Office of the President

Dr. Michael Geisler