Message from the Dean of Students: Growing a Culture of Consent, Supporting Survivors, and Combating Sexual Misconduct

February 17, 2021

Whittier College is committed to providing an educational and workplace environment that is free from sexual misconduct. To accomplish this goal, the College strictly adheres to policies and procedures listed in the Whittier College Sexual Misconduct Policy. Underlying these policies and procedures is a focus on survivor-centered, trauma-informed practices.

Whittier College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students. All allegations of sexual misconduct are acted upon promptly by the College. Reports of sexual misconduct can be made via the College’s online reporting form. The Title IX process always includes an initial assessment by the Title IX Coordinator to review allegations of sexual misconduct as well as an investigation into the allegations. The College also follows very thorough and comprehensive investigative and adjudicative processes that include a formal grievance process. When appropriate, an informal resolution can also be utilized. 

Additionally, as part of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Outreach efforts, the College is working to develop comprehensive prevention and outreach programs. These programs include awareness and educational presentations to students, staff, and faculty about the College’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures, empowerment programming, awareness-raising campaigns, bystander intervention, and risk reduction programs. These programs will result in a more equitable community, a stronger consent culture, and the removal of barriers to reporting sexual misconduct. 

Moving forward, the College will invest heavily in our support of survivors and the growth of a campus consent culture. This investment will include the following actions:

  1. Comprehensive prevention and awareness education developed by the Title IX office. In the Fall of 2021, the Title IX office will hire a group of peer educators. These peer educators will complete comprehensive training that will prepare them to educate fellow students about the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Title IX process, and standards of behavior that make up a strong consent culture on campus. The peer educators will provide workshops and training to the entire campus. Based on Title IX data, particular campus organizations will be targeted for specific training and educational opportunities. 

  2. The Gender Equity Center will be bolstered and will receive funding to support the following:

    - A student coordinator position that will be supervised by the College’s Gender Equity Coordinator. This student will help the Coordinator develop programming, reach out to student organizations, and improve communication between faculty, students, and staff around gender equity issues at the College.

    - Faculty and student research opportunities for students associated with the Gender Studies program at the College. 

    - Workshops and training for all members of the College community. 

  3. Training for all employees involved in the Title IX process--including intake, investigation, adjudication, and resolution--will be strengthened. Through the College’s ongoing partnership with national organization ATIXA (Association of Title IX Administrators), advisers, investigators, hearing board members, and others will complete regular training and certification where applicable. 

The Title IX Office and Gender Equity Center take all reports of sexual misconduct seriously. We encourage everyone--faculty, staff, and students--to report incidents of sexual misconduct. Reports can be made via the College’s online reporting form and directly to any of these people:

Lafayette Baker, Director of Housing and Residential Life
 and Title IX Coordinator

Cynthia Joseph, Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Deputy Title IX Coordinator 

sal johnston, Vice Presiden of Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty and Deputy Title IX Coordinator 

Bruce Smith, Vice President and Dean of Students

More information about reporting, including mandatory reporting and confidential support, can be found online. 

All of these efforts are a part of Whittier College’s commitment to providing an educational environment and workplace that is free from Sexual Misconduct. We will continue the development of a Title IX team and educational program dedicated to supporting survivors, growing a culture of consent on campus, and building awareness of and strategies to overcome gender violence of all kinds at Whittier College. 

Bruce Smith

Vice President and Dean of Students

Ann M. Kakaliouras

Gender Equity Coordinator

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Lafayette Baker 

Title IX Coordinator
Director of Housing and Residential Life