ABAC makes changes to Title IX hearing process

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ABAC has recently announced updates to its Title IX guidelines.

“Formal hearings for Title IX and related complaints will be handled by a trained three-person panel as compared to our historical ‘single model’ which was typically a Vice President,” stated an email sent by ABAC’s Director of Public Relation, Chris Beckham.

“The hearing panel will be responsible for conducting the formal hearing, determining if a violation of policy occured, and establishing appropriate corrective action, as needed.”

The previous hearing model was that there was one adjudicator who determined the policies and procedures violated by the offender in question, now a panel of three trained individuals will makes decisions as a group.

Chris Beckham said of these changes, “It was initially an internal discussion by the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Title IX Coordinator here at ABAC. It later involved discussion with the University System of Georgia Title IX Coordinator and coordinators from other institutions as we strived to find the best model for both employees and students.”

A formal reccomendation was made to the ABAC Cabinet by the Provost, Dr. Amy Willis and the Title IX Coordinator, Richard Spancake, who both believed it would be a positive change and would support shared governance.

Beckahm said, “Once the recommendation was made to the Cabinet, the change was made immediately and was communicated to the campus.”

“ABAC’s emphasis is first on education and awareness, and there are many steps taken annually around this objective. We strive to provide due process, fairness, and support measures for both complainants and respondents. And we strive to follow USG policy regardless of the outcome. Specifically, we provide mental health counseling to complainants, implement a variety of interim measures to support complainants and respondents through the Title IX process. We have also utilized Ruth’s Cottage to assist complainants,” Beckham said.

This comes as a relief to the community and campus body. ABAC’s move for continuous improvement and changing systems serves as a reminder that they are growing as a conscious and caring institution.

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