Emporia State required a student who reported an incident of sexual misconduct to sign a “Notice of Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation,” which prohibited her from speaking about her case to others - and threatened discipline if she does.
The Bulletin is withholding the Korean student’s real name and will be referring to her as “Jane” within this story to protect her against the stigma of reporting sexual misconduct. The Bulletin has chosen to name Brian Schrader, tenured professor of psychology, because of the “preponderance of evidence” that indicated he violated the university’s sexual conduct policy, according to the final summary of the investigation written by Ray Lauber, director of Human Resources, Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator, on July 17, 2017.
Title IX protects from discrimination based on sex, and applies to “institutions that receive federal financial assistance,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Universities may not require those who report harassment, sexual violence or discrimination to abide by non-disclosure agreements, whether they are written or otherwise, according to the Clery Act.
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires universities to report crimes that happen on campus and to create annual security reports. The Clery Act also has a Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights, “which requires colleges to disclose educational programming, campus disciplinary process and victim rights regarding sexual violence complaints,” according to knowyourix.org.
The ESU agreement does not seem to conform to this standard.
“You’re being interviewed as a result of a complaint or report of harassment, sexual violence or discrimination,” according to the ESU Notice of Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation that Jane says she was required to sign. “The purpose of this confidential interview is to investigate and develop factual information related to the complaint/report. You are hereby directed not to discuss this matter with others.”
Jane signed the agreement May 24.
“Unauthorized disclosure of information related to the complaint/report both during or after an investigation may be considered a breach of your confidentiality obligations and an interference in the investigation,” according to the ESU Notice of Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation. “The university considers such conduct a violation of policy which may result in disciplinary action.”
Additionally, Lauber told Jane that he could not share specific details of Schrader’s consequences. The outcome of the Title IX investigation was not clear in any of the documents regarding the investigation that Jane received, she said.
Jane emailed Lauber on July 26, 2017, and said, “I think I need to know about consequences.” Lauber did not reply until Aug. 14, 2017.
“As a state of Kansas agency state policies limit our ability to communicate actions we may take against employees,” Lauber said. “However, I may be able to answer questions you have without discussing specific actions that have been taken.”
On July 21, David Cordle, provost, emailed Jane and told her that she had 30 days to submit an appeal if she didn’t find the resolution satisfactory.
“A written appeal of the final recommendation must be received in the President’s Office within 30 days of the individual’s receipt of the recommendation from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,” according to the University Policy Manual section J on Formal Resolution for Harassment and Discrimination (Excluding Sexual Violence). “The President will respond within 30 days after receiving the written appeal.”
Jane decided to file an appeal, and emailed Lisa Moritz, associate affirmative action officer and Title IX deputy coordinator, on Aug. 18, asking who to submit it to. Moritz told Jane not to worry about the deadline.
“If an appeal needs to be filed, we will extend the deadline for you,” Moritz said. “Come talk to Ray and me next week.”
Jane submitted the appeal on Aug. 18 instead of waiting to meet with Moritz. Her appeal consisted of a letter to President Garrett detailing the anxiety and discomfort she had experienced since the May incident.
On Aug. 21 Moritz emailed Jane that the president told her late last Friday that the appeal was submitted.
Jane said she did not receive a reply from Garrett, nor did she hear from anyone in administration about this incident, until Dec. 7, when she received an email from Cordle.
“I am writing to inform you that Dr. Schrader will return to campus to teach starting Spring Semester 2018, and to update you on some additional requirements that have been put into place as he returns,” Cordle wrote.
Jane told The Bulletin that she felt that the school administrators and anyone higher up in the school was pretending to help her but were not really interested in firing Schrader.
According to Cordle, Schrader was not to have any contact or interaction with Jane and was to take a different route if he saw her. In addition, Schrader was prohibited from speaking about Jane to any ESU employees or students and arrangements would be made for Jane to take any psychology classes she needed from another professor.
It is unclear in Cordle’s letter if these additional requirements came from Jane’s appeal or some other institutional action.
“This finalizes the university’s actions related to your formal complaint,” Cordle said.
Garrett, Moritz, Lauber, Cordle and Jim Persinger, chair of the Psychology Department, all declined comment and directed questions to Gwen Larson, assistant director of marketing and media relations, who issued a statement.
“This complaint was handled pursuant to the requirements of state and federal law, as well as Board of Regents and Emporia State University policies,” Larson said in the statement issued Tuesday. “Emporia State University takes all complaints seriously and handles each complaint pursuant to applicable law and policy.”
As of Feb. 8, 2018, Schrader was still employed by ESU, Larson had said earlier.