Investigating Consent

This blog was written by Senior Consultant Barbara Stob: As Title IX practitioners know, many, if not most, of the sexual assault complaints that you will investigate come down to the issue of consent.  Even if there is agreement about the particular physical acts that occurred, the parties often disagree about whether consent was given by the complainant to engage in the activity. So it may be surprising that when the Department of Education promulgated new Title IX regulations last year, one issue that the Department chose not to regulate was the definition of consent.  Although a large number of comments were submitted on this issue, the final regulation clarifies that the Department “will not require recipients to adopt a particular definition of consent with respect to sexual assault….” This included declining to impose a particular definition of terms such as “coercion” or “incapacity.” What does this mean for your … Read MoreInvestigating Consent

Reflections of an Investigator: Checking your Baggage at the Door

The following blog was written by Chelsea Jacoby, Ed.D, Director of Title IX Compliance and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Coordinator at The College of New Jersey.  Chelsea is a consultant for Title IX Consult, LLC. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in and critically impact Title IX /sexual misconduct investigations is when investigators allow their own biases (implicit or otherwise) to cloud their judgments. It’s so important that investigators check their own baggage at the door and constantly engage in self-reflection, such as asking themselves (and challenging their co-investigator): “Why am I thinking x,y,z may be the case? Is it because the evidence is leading me there or is it because of my own biases in the form of personal identities, experiences, perceptions and/or societal norms?” If left unchecked, these biases can be particularly detrimental when consciously or subconsciously evaluating someone’s credibility. As such, it’s critical … Read MoreReflections of an Investigator: Checking your Baggage at the Door