The CAC also mentioned they were interested in the CCTF, “suggesting alternative ways of intervening in harmful behaviors (other than Title IX/OIE reporting.)“ Discussions within the CCTF related to Restorative or Transformative Justice were offered. The following is a list of recommendations informed by a Transformative Justice philosophy.
It is evident that many departments and chairs throughout CAL are in need of support for dealing with RVSM between parties at all levels. The need for support is particularly acute during the Title IX investigation period where chairs, faculty, staff, and students are left with too few resources to manage the interim day-to-day encounters while waiting for a determination.This period continues to be prolonged by the campus-wide backlog of Title IX cases. The CCTF suggests developing a toolkit for campus community members who find themselves in this situation. The goal of the toolkit would be to prevent further harm and escalation from happening during that investigation period while also identifying resources that can contribute to healing. It would also assist in identifying and promoting communities of support and accountability for the parties involved in order to prevent further harm from occurring during the interim period. These toolkits will also support units in cases where Title IX has determined that no Title IX violation has occurred but it is evident to those affected that something harmful has occurred. In these cases, the department is left in the position of dealing with the fallout with little to no support or training.
The taskforce also recommends building a network of diverse local facilitators who can support units in building personalized community agreements and can assist units when there are communication challenges that do not rise to the level of a violation but need to be addressed,lest they escalate unnecessarily. This is part of the preventative work that will yield healthier units and will provide a model for resolving lower stakes issues. Establishing a network of diverse facilitators who can help units resolve small-scale interpersonal harm will contribute to units having the bandwidth and skill sets to resolve more serious cases of RVSM as they arise.Unhealthy units rife with conflict cannot and do not respond well to cases of RVSM.
Finally, our consultant recommends incentivizing a Transformative Justice Fellows program for faculty and staff where participants are given the time and space to build up key skill sets for intervening in conflicts. This can be a pilot program run out of strategically identified units asking for support. The TJ Fellows pilot could provide course releases and/or reduced workload for 8-10 participants in a unit that will meet 6 times over the course of a year. The goal of the Fellows program would be to:
- Cultivate a community of support and accountability within the unit
- Create a space for building shared language, values, and trust
- Bolster participants facilitation and skillful communication skills (so that they do not always have to rely on outside facilitators to solve problems in the unit)
- Assess conditions in department that lead to harmful behavior
- Develop personalized prevention, harm reduction, and response strategies for the unit.
A parallel version of this can be created for students and staff in the unit. Students can be provided with free credit hours and course credit (independent study structure), while staff can be provided with reduced workload and/or extra stipend to bolster their salary. Consider the impact on the culture of a department, if we ran a one-year pilot that ran 3 simultaneous fellows programs (faculty, student and staff). We would like to suggest that this would contribute to the CAC’s request to discover “methods of building trust and care within units and across ranks,roles, and responsibilities.”
However, this last charge will require more discussion and we will continue to explore methods should the committee continue. In our discussions, we examined the “What’s in it for me?”attitude that prevents buy-in to the concept of active empathy. We also discussed that many people eye-roll when hearing the phrase “Culture of Care.” These two elements prevent a true culture of care from spreading. This territory also crosses into ethical and moral behavior that are simply too personal to address through this CCTF. It is imagined that future CCTF members could gain expertise through more research on the topic and/or by hiring facilitators for such work.