A Scotts Valley nonprofit is set to tackle a $1 million Title IX investigation across Santa Clara County’s hundreds of K-12 and post-secondary schools, despite having neither college-level experience nor legal staff for the task.
Education, Training and Research Associates is the intended awardee of a contract to assess and codify how educators countywide comply with state and federal laws on sex- and gender-based harassment and abuse, according to documents obtained by San Jose Inside.
The decision will be final on June 10, if none of the other four bidding agencies protest the selection.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the audit in October 2020, after Title IX rollbacks essentially increased protections to accused abusers by raising the bar for evidence. The estimated 12- to 18-month audit will focus on seven different phases, including ease of access to information, prevention and education on campus safety.
But browsing ETR’s website only uncovers a “K12T9 Initiative,” excluding any post-secondary material, and a staff of primary researchers, developers and project coordinators. Additionally, alongside “safer sex” resources, the 40-year company distributes abstinence-based sexual health programs, which were included in Trump administration initiatives.
Michele Dauber, who works in the trenches of sexual misconduct as chair of the Enough is Enough Voter Project, thinks ETR’s public resume and catalog raise concerns, especially as headlines of major sexual assault accusations and scandals continue flowing from San Jose State, Santa Clara and Stanford universities.
“The county owes it to the survivors who campaigned relentlessly for this audit to select someone who is capable, experienced and ready to tackle a task of this complexity,” Dauber said. “Maybe [ETR is] completely qualified and they have done legal compliance audits of extremely wealthy, high-ranking institutions. If so, they should bring that forward now.”