/SGA Town Hall discusses UM’s sexual assault procedures 
Graphic by Bell Jackson.

SGA Town Hall discusses UM’s sexual assault procedures 

Corrected on Feb. 22 at 4:41 to remove language implying RA’s are the only students able to file maxient reports. Also clarified general issues. Corrected on March 7 at 12:07 to address the following issues:

In the first paragraph, Dr. Tammi Dahle’s name is misspelled. In the second paragraph, it was stated that Tony Miller defined sexual assault as “unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.” This was one of the three definitions of sexual harassment provided by federal regulations. Only one definition was specific to sexual assault, and it defined it as: “Forcible rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, incest, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.”  

In the third paragraph, it was said that “30% of students who filed a report pursued full investigations.” It should have said that “30% of students who filed a report chose to move forward in the process.” 

The fourth paragraph said Miller’s presentation was based off a report by United Educators; this report was only used to provide numbers which Miller compared to the University of Montevallo’s numbers. It also said UM investigated a total of 30% of reported incidents. That 30% should have been described as the same 30% of students who chose to move forward in the process.  

It also should have said that 32% of the cases reported were investigated, since in one case UM went forward without the student’s consent due to concerns of campus safety.  

There was a typo that said Miller did not quote a statistic from RAINN, when it should have said Miller did quote the statistic.  

In the fifth paragraph, the statistic from the United Educators report refers to sexual assault cases, while the statistic from UM is referencing all forms of sexual harassment, including assault. These numbers should not have been listed together.  

The sixth paragraph, said UM turns those found responsible of sexual misconduct over to the police. This is incorrect.  

By Jacob Gross

SGA hosted a town hall aiming to educate students on sexual assault and Title IX procedures on Jan. 26. The town hall featured campus Title IX Coordinator and Director of Student Conduct Tony Miller, Jr., Director of Housing and Residence Life John Denson, Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Tammi Dahle and Director of Counseling Services Josh Miller. 

Miller provided three federal definitions of sexual harassment. Included in this was a definition of sexual assault, which defined it as, “Forcible rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, incest, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.”  

These definitions are part of Title IX, and Miller informed students that every college that receives federal funding must follow the Title IX guidelines.  

Miller said, at Montevallo, 30% of students who filed a report chose to move forward in the process. A total of 32% of cases reported have been investigated, resulting in 16 full investigations since 2013. 

Miller pointed out that a statistic by the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network shows 31% of victims reported incidents to the police. 

Miller presented numbers from a report by United Educators that showed 77% of sexual assault reports are investigated by universities nationwide. According to the same report, 18% of those claims resulted in sanctions where the perpetrator did not receive a suspension or expulsion.  

Of the cases that were investigated at Montevallo, which include all forms of sexual harassment and assault, 75% found the accused responsible, and 50% of those cases did not result in suspensions or expulsions. The cases where the accused was found responsible resulted in five expulsions, one suspension, three deferred suspensions and three conduct probations.  

Miller outlined the seven steps that the Title IX response team goes through, which are receiving the report of sexual harassment, signing of a formal complaint, notifying the accused of allegations and investigation, the investigation process, issuing the investigation report and evidence review, a live hearing with cross examination and the appeal and final decision. Each student is allowed an advisor. According to UM’s Title IX website, an advisor is, “The person chosen by a party or appointed by the institution to accompany the party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process, and to conduct cross-examination for the party at the hearing, if any.” 

Miller said he “wants to share what the process looks like,” and wants students to be aware of the different options the department offers. These options are to not pursue action, contact the police but not move forward with the university’s process, offer a no-contact order or to move forward with the seven-step process offered by the university.  

Junior Senator Josie Shaw asked whether the university had any place on campus that educated students on transgender students in choosing their restrooms. Miller said to talk to the students’ RAs about a new optional program focused on educating students on transgender issues. Dahle recommended that Shaw talk to Spectrum, a university student group aimed at educating others about LGBTQ+ issues.  

Title IX aims to ensure that the accused gets the same level of legal treatment and care as the accused. Miller emphasized that the accused are entitled to the same level of respect and equity as the victim.  

A student asked about what the university would do if the offender lived in the same dorm building as the victim. Denson advised talking directly to RAs, who are mandatory reporters to the Title IX office. RAs can fill out a Maxient report, which could lead to the victim and the offender being placed on separate floors.   

Miller pointed out resources offered by UM Counseling Services, where each counselor is trained in a trauma-based approach to sexual assault.  

Students who are in need of counseling assistance can call Counseling Service at 205-665-6245 or visit their offices at the Puryear House during normal business, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, students can contact the Freddie Support Line at 833-434-1217. 

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Jacob Gross is a writer for The Alabamian. He is an English major with a creative writing minor. He has played guitar for a few years and really enjoys painting even though he believes he is bad at it.