2020 Committee on Sexual Misconduct Report

Moving into the 2020 Fall Semester, implementation of the new Title IX regulation amendments represented the Committee on Sexual Misconduct’s (CSM) primary concern. The amendments included a narrower definition of sexual assault, a cross-examination portion of the investigation process, and the restriction of University jurisdiction to on-campus incidents. These new regulations concerned CSM, and the student body, as they limited University authority and extended power dynamics into the hearing process. CSM shared these concerns with administration during a series of meetings throughout the summer and fall. Significantly, the University will continue to investigate off-campus incidents under the University Code of Conduct, which mirrors the procedure prior to the new regulations. When possible, on-campus incidents will also be reviewed under the Code of Conduct, allowing survivors to avoid the potentially re-traumatizing cross-examination portion. 

Following this summers’ resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, CSM wanted to emphasize the necessity of intersectionality within the anti-sexual violence movement. CSM published a statement, via the CSM Instagram account (@csm_fordhamusg), condemning police brutality and recognizing the relationship between gender and racial violence. Sexual abuse is the second most reported form of police brutality. This semester, CSM worked to be a resource and a vocal advocate for Black students. 

Throughout the semester, CSM collaborated with the USG Diversity Action Coalition (DAC) to promote intersectionality through projects and resources. First, our two committees created the Bias Concern Form as a method for students to anonymously submit their experiences, including bias incidents and criticisms of the Title IX process. This form allowed USG to forward concerns to the appropriate administrators. Additionally, CSM and DAC held a week-long social media campaign focused on intersectionality and sexual violence. This campaign aimed to provide information and resources that addressed the unique needs of everyone in the Fordham community. The posts included discussing race and marginalization in conversations about sexual violence prevention, allyship, and resources for BIPOC and transgender and non-binary survivors. 

Finally, CSM hosted its bi-annual Week of Action on October 26-31st. To engage and include students studying on-campus and virtually, CSM hosted both hybrid and virtual events. CSM hosted two in-person tabling events, The Clothesline Project and Candy and Consent. The Clothesline Project, along the northwest corner of Edward’s Parade, encourages students to write statements of support for survivors. Students stopped by the table or submitted their statements virtually. Candy and Consent promoted affirmative consent by having students spin a wheel, deciding whether the phrase they landed on conveyed affirmative consent. Our virtual events included collaborations with the Bronx D.A. on cyber abuse, CPS on catcalling and mental health, and Leading Women of Tomorrow on sexual harassment in the workplace. Finally, CSM hosted a virtual screening of the documentary, “It Happened Here.” 

Overall, CSM’s continued to emphasize advocacy, intersectionality, and inclusivity through this semesters’ initiatives and programming.

Lindsey Sullivan