Columbia Daily Spectator
9.2.15 | Teo Armus
In accordance with a New York state law passed this summer, Columbia’s new sexual assault policy includes changes to the appeals process and clarifications of existing procedures.
Most notably, the new policy addresses long-standing student concerns by expanding the appeals panel from one dean to three, replaces the composition of hearing panels, and requires that all students suspended or expelled for sexual assault receive a permanent notation on their transcripts, among other changes.
“Last year’s [policy] was strong, and this year’s is stronger in terms of its clearer language and enhanced accessibility for students,” Executive Vice President for University Life Suzanne Goldberg said in an interview with Spectator. “The changes focus mainly on clarifying steps in the disciplinary process and making the policy clearer and more accessible for students overall.”
Changes to the appeals and hearing panels
While the dean of the respondent’s school previously served as the sole appeals officer, the new policy mandates that appeals are heard by the dean of the respondent’s school and the dean of the complainant’s school.
In cases where both students are undergraduates, the other deans will be drawn from the remaining undergraduate schools and, in cases in which they are unavailable, from the deans of the graduate schools.
Goldberg said this change comes from both the state law, known as “Enough is Enough,” and “input and conversation with a wide range of participants in the process.”