Staff Editorial: Change requires action for Title IX

Washington University administrators released a 24-page document detailing changes to the Title IX system in response to the student demands announced last spring Sept. 4. The changes, including the addition of six full-time staff members across the Title IX Office, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and Habif Health and Wellness Center, the creation of a peer consulting service and the formation of an Advisory Committee, are a step in the right direction to help mend the wounds caused by the Title IX Office’s failure to serve the students it is supposed to protect.

The prompt release of the University’s changes—in addition to the financial undertaking of adding six full-time staff members—demonstrates the administration’s commitment to the cause: It shows that they are willing to make real changes. However, we hope that the pledged changes will translate into tangible improvements to survivors’ experiences with Title IX.

While the six staff members will undoubtedly alleviate some of the stress and workload from current employees, we hope that they will work to further promote policies that help students. The same goes for the peer consulting program and Advisory Committee: While the oversight aspect of the Advisory Committee is admirable, we hope the University will accept and consider suggestions they offer. If they do not lead to appreciable decisions and differences, the new implementations will merely become even more cogs in the broken machine that is the Title IX system. Wash. U. has undeniably committed the resources to make the changes, now we want to see what they will do with them.

It is no secret that distrust in the Title IX Office’s ability to function came to a head last semester with the Title Mine rally, attended by hundreds of students, staff and faculty members. Conflict between a university and its students should never have to escalate to such a level for change to occur. To help ensure future changes are more proactive than reactive, the Title IX Office must regularly reassess their progress and identify areas for improvement. We encourage the administration and staff members to seek out the advice Title Mine and other related groups on campus for these revisions.

The University’s willingness to sit at the table and respond to public outcry shows the power of student voices. The people with the power to make changes have asked for more feedback: Show up and give it. It’s easy to talk in the abstract with your roommates about how fed up you are, but now is the time to do something about it. Attend the open house this Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in Umrath Lounge. Keep speaking up, keep the conversation going—now you know it can make a difference.