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CSULB’s ASI Senate discusses recent federal changes to Title IX

Associated Students, Inc. Senate discussed federal changes to Title IX that affect Long Beach State officials’ ability to investigate and resolve misconduct cases at its meeting Wednesday.

 During the meeting, Larisa Hamada, CSULB’s Office of Equity and Diversity assistant vice president, gave a presentation on recent changes to Title IX, which she dubbed “DeVos changes” after U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. These changes affect Title IX cases that occurred on or after Aug. 14, 2020 and limit the OED’s ability to tackle Title IX cases.

 These changes also reduce the OED’s jurisdiction to active students and employees. Incidents must now also occur in locations where CSULB has “substantial control,” like on campus, in fraternity and sorority houses or in other locations owned and controlled by the university.

 “In the past, we were able to offer our services to any student who had a complaint against an employee or a student I have jurisdiction over,” Hamada said. “Now, the incident not only had to happen on Aug. 14 or later, [but] it also had to happen on campus or an off-campus building…that we own and control.”

 However, the changes to Title IX still allow the OED to provide supportive measures including academic accommodations and housing for alleged victims.

 These “DeVos changes” also set a higher threshold for what can be considered sexual harassment, ranging from severe, pervasive or objectively offensive conduct to needing to meet all three criteria. That means behavior that was deemed sexual harassment in the past must now happen multiple times before falling into that category.   

 “It had to happen multiple times, which is really unfortunate because the definition of sexual harassment has been around for so long,” Hamada said.

 ASI Senate also finalized and approved its Consolidated Operating Budget for 2020-21, with the revised budget taking revenue losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic into account. 

It also voted to formally support the Philippine Human Rights Act in direct opposition to the Philippine’s 2020 Anti-Terror Act, which essentially allows the Filipino government to prosecute anyone who speaks out against it.

 The senate also passed a resolution to formally support Propositions 16, 17, 18 and 25 and oppose Proposition 20. 

 According to Miles Nevin, executive director of ASI, James Ahumada will be leaving ASI after three years working as its senior communications manager. ASI will begin recruiting in a couple of months to find a replacement to fill the position, Nevin said.

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