Students bring Title IX issues to foreground

ANNA PUCCI
STAFF WRITER

The newly-formed Title IX Work Group allows students to have a voice when it comes to policy, training and communication on campus at The University.

The work group idea was initiated after four students expressed their concerns to Jennifer LaPorta, Title IX coordinator and executive director of the Office of Equity and Diversity about how Title IX’s was implemented in The University’s policies at the time, senior Natalie Kern and one of the four students said.

Title IX is a broad mandate that prohibits gender discrimination for college and universities that receive federal funds, LaPorta explained.

“We saw a lot of differences in how students were about experiences and we thought that they way reporting stuff had been changed and promoted a culture of silence and we had a lot of concerns,” Kern said.

This group stemmed off the original Title IX work group, which was made up of faculty, staff and students, but this new club promotes students to create their own projects as LaPorta and Justine Johnson, director of the Cross Cultural Centers, guide them along the way.

“Jennifer and I do a lot of work but we really don’t have a pulse like students on our campus so I think we want to use that as a place where students have their voices heard,” Johnson said.

The faculty has been trying to incorporate students’ ideas to create a bigger impact with the message they want to put out there.

“We had already talked about putting posters out and communication techniques but the students kind of drove home the visual would be really helpful for students (who) are not that likely look at the policy when they have a question,” LaPorta said.
Kern and the other students were able to take the ideas they came up with as a group and create a project that would later published for the public to learn from.
“There (were) so many times where it was like Jennifer would say something then somebody else would say something then someone else would say ‘I have an idea!’ and now that’s idea is in the works or has already happened,” Kern said.
LaPorta and Johnson wanted the new group to be primarily run by the students, hoping to include with students of all different kinds of backgrounds and interests.
“The student work group is just starting now even though (an) informal group put things together we decided to formalize that effort and give students across campus to have a real impact on our campus culture,” LaPorta said.
One of the work group projects is trying to provide a safe place for students to talk about things without it being reported, Kern said.

“We need to have a conversation with someone other than ourselves about this,” Kern said.
The deadline for the club’s application is Oct. 21 on Royal Org Sync.
“We’re hoping its something people get excited about and stay excited about and continue throughout the years,” Kern said.

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