PSG passes law reacting to Roe v. Purdue | Campus

Nearly two months after a federal jury ruled that Purdue abused a student by suspending her after making a sexual assault allegation, Purdue’s student government has passed two resolutions to clarify Purdue’s rules regarding incapacity and punishment for false allegations.

Changes to the False Claims Rule

PSG proposed Resolution 22-34 to change Purdue’s policy on false claims in Title IX.

Purdue policy states that students who make bad faith statements in allegations of sexual assault or harassment violate its misrepresentation rule and are therefore subject to penalties. PSG proposed to specify that sanctions cannot be taken against a student who provides information in good faith, even if it turns out to be erroneous.

“A person provides information in good faith when they reasonably believe that the information they have provided is accurate,” the legislation says.

While most senators appeared to support the bill, some questioned the language regarding “good faith” versus “bad faith.”

“How do we plan to decide if someone did not act knowingly or intentionally? asked Senator Lucas Bottini. “I feel like that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. What if the information is incorrect, but the person thinks it’s correct?”

Ferguson clarified that the wording of good faith and bad faith is actually enshrined in federal Title IX law, so it would be impossible to avoid the language of this resolution.

Bottini pointed to the last line of the proposition, in which it says that good faith is achieved if a student “reasonably believes” that he is telling the truth. He said it opens the door for anyone to claim they are telling the truth and therefore be immune to punishment.

“Who’s to say that students aren’t just going to say that (their request) is in good faith?” He asked.

Sen. Ericka Wheeler clarified that it is still up to the university to decide whether the request is in good faith, not the individual students.

Ferguson explained that, like the court system, the university can decide whether claims are made in good faith based on witness testimony and other outside factors, such as whether it’s obvious the complainant is making inconsistent claims. or says different things to strangers than he says in college.

“I think anyone can claim positive intent, but to impose a penalty, proof is needed. It’s like innocent until proven guilty,” Senator Josh Mariani said.

When asked to clarify his stance resolution, Bottini said he was caught “at the wrong time” and asked The Exponent to email him with questions.

If the university passes this legislation, Senator Shreya Jain said, students with sexual assault allegations are more likely to come forward.

“I think otherwise we’d be hurting people by making statements about what happened to them,” interim president Lilli Ferguson said, “because they’re not 100 percent sure whether they’ll have the physical evidence to prove it.”

The resolution was adopted by 24 votes against 0, two senators, including Bottini, having abstained during the vote.

Clarification of “incapacity”

PSG’s final resolution went to the vote without any discussion.

Resolution 22-35 adds more context to the definition of “incapacity” when it comes to sexual assault allegations. It passed unanimously.

The crux of Nancy Roe vs. Purdue hinged on whether Roe was “unfit,” meaning she was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity.

Purdue defines incapacity as “a mental state in which an individual cannot make rational decisions because they lack the capacity to give informed consent. Such incapacity may be caused by the use of alcohol or other drugs, sleep or unconsciousness. Intoxication is not equivalent to incapacitation.

During that trial, Associate Vice-Rector and Dean of Students Katie Sermersheim said Roe was not incapacitated, despite knowing she had consumed 18 drinks. The definition of incapacity she gave to the court differed from the Purdue guidelines.

PSG’s proposal clarifies that “where alcohol or other drugs are involved, disability is defined in relation to how the alcohol or other drugs used affect a person’s decision-making ability. , awareness of consequences, ability to make fully informed judgments, ability to appreciate the nature and quality of the act, or level of awareness.

An assessment of incapacity should include a determination as to whether the student accused of sexual misconduct “knew or reasonably should have known the complainant’s level of alcohol consumption and/or level of impairment,” reads- we in the resolution.

Purdue’s graduate student government traveled to the Senate to work on joint resolution 22-01 on passing a student welfare day. This day would take place once per semester and would be separate from any breaks that are already in the calendar.

The break would give undergraduate and graduate students a break from research and coursework activities. By passing this resolution, the PGSG hopes to raise awareness of mental health and wellness services, especially for graduate students.

About Michael S. Montanez

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