While the 2020 Regulations permit informal resolution, the parties (complainant and respondent) must be willing to give informal resolution a try, or the institution cannot attempt to resolve informally. As a result, Title IX Coordinators must not only assess whether each complaint is amenable to possible resolution through informal means, they must also assess whether this is an appropriate mechanism for the parties involved.
The 10 D’s of Opposition may be applied as an evaluative framework to provide facilitators with key information needed to assess a party’s or supporter’s readiness to participate. They are most helpful when considered in their totality. Below is an introduction to the 10 D’s:
Deflect. Deflection occurs when an individual attempts to shift the focus away from the main issue or to blame someone or something else for the harm that occurred. This may sound like:
Delay. Delays include actions or inactions that prevent the process from moving forward.
Some delays are reasonable and should not give a facilitator pause, such as wanting to speak with a trusted advisor before agreeing to participate in an informal resolution or asking to speak to a selected supporter before the facilitator reaches out. However, many delays are indications of underlying concerns of which a facilitator should be mindful and attentive.
Deny. Denial refers to taking the stance that either (1) the behavior didn’t occur as reported, or (2) the individual or group identified as the respondent is not responsible for the behavior which occurred. This may sound like:
Discount. Discounting happens when an individual or group minimizes or dismisses the impact of an incident. This may sound like:
Deceive. Deception refers to intentionally misleading by omitting information or providing false information. This may sound like:
Divide. Division typically occurs when an individual attempts to split a group, encourages people to “take sides,” or expects others to demonstrate their loyalty to one party or another.
Dulcify. To dulcify means to provide a small concession to calm or soothe the situation, or to “make [the situation] sweeter”. The term is akin to pacifying and appeasing in that there is no meaningful effort to truly resolve the matter. This may sound like:
Discredit. Discrediting is the act of undermining or attempting to diminish the credibility of another. This may sound like:
Destroy. The root goal of a destroy tactic is to “ruin” or “take down” another person or group, often related to reputation, career or prospects, academic progress, etc. This may sound like:
Deal. Dealing is like compromising. However, when individuals compromise, they are typically giving up something in exchange for getting something else or putting conditions upon an agreement. While give and take is not necessarily a negative, it is important that a party isn’t conceding something false solely in an effort to reach a resolution and avoid the formal grievance process. ATIXA members: Click here for an extended five-page version of this Tip.
To explore Informal Resolutions in more depth, join us for a Time with IX event on Friday, July 16.