Title IX coordinator an important role for campus safety

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act is a federal law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This law applies to all institutions of education that receive federal funds; public or private.
Title IX has become a hot topic in recent years mostly due to its correlation with sexual assault specifically on college campuses. Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, two sexual assault survivors and prevention activists, found a way to utilize Title IX as a powerful tool to combat this serious nationwide issue. Though Title IX is a civil rights law, the wording of the law itself allows it to be used in the context of each individual deserving an equal college experience and education. Survivors and activists are using this angle on the federal law to say that allowing a perpetrator of sexual assault to continue attending a federally funded institution is denying victims and their peers their right to an equal collegiate experience and quality education.
Upon taking over as President of the University of Tulsa during the 2016-2017 school year, Dr. Gerard Clancy immediately began making changes in the ways that reports of sexual assaults were handled, and increasing efforts to make sure that students were comfortable with, and informed with how, reporting sexual assaults or unwanted sexual experiences to the proper authorities on-campus and otherwise.
On Sept. 23, 2017, an article was released in the Tulsa World in which President Clancy stated that he wanted his students and their parents to know that this was a serious issue and something that he took seriously at any time of day or night.
On Sept. 15, 2017, Vice President for Diversity and Engagement at the University of Tulsa, Jacqueline Caldwell, sent out an email on behalf of the University, informing staff and students that alumnus Matthew Warren was chosen as the University’s new Title IX coordinator. The job of a Title IX coordinator is described as fostering “consistency in addressing complaints pertaining to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.” President Clancy referenced the presence of a Title IX coordinator as an essential progressive step in the increased efforts to address these types of interpersonal traumas at TU.
While I personally admire and support President Clancy in his attempts to reduce and address the obscene amount of interpersonal violence that occurs on our campus, there are others who feel that the presence of a Title IX coordinator doesn’t deter offenders from what they are already determined to do. Others think that Clancy, along with a large population of students, are making too big of a deal out of a small problem.
To those who doubt the severity of the national situation on our hands-and it is on all of our hands—I say, shame on you.
The amount of forcible sex offenses on The University of Tulsa’s main campus almost tripled between 2015-2016, going from 5 incidents to 13. Since the start of the 2017-2018 academic school year, there have already been 4 reports of sexual assaults on campus.
Less than 2 percent of reported assaults are false, yet we continue to approach the majority of victims as though they are the ones who have committed a crime. And it is not an isolated issue.
Not only is alcohol not an excuse for any sort of unwanted behavior, but fraternities are not the only ones responsible for the heinous crimes that occur on college campuses. Nor are the athletes, though they make up a large portion of those accused of sexual assaults. Most assailants of sexual assaults are individuals who know their victims.
It could be a friend who lets you crash on his couch repeatedly and then one night mistakes your unconsciousness for an invitation into your personal space. It could be a middle-aged classmate coming back to school for a new degree, who manipulates your admiration of her as a maternal figure into a sexually abusive relationship. And yes, it could be a boy who invites you to a fraternity party only to hand you a solo cup filled with the substance that takes away your ability to consent.
Anyway that it happens, between any combination of individuals, the treatment should be the same. I am hopeful that Matthew Warren’s new position at The University of Tulsa, along with President Clancy’s outstanding new policies and programs in place to address the seriousness of sexual offenses, that our campus will become a more informed, more compassionate, and safer place to live, and to learn.

Post Author: Tori Gellman