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Title Mine presents new initiatives to administration

| Managing Editor

Title Mine presented five proposals relating to the Title IX office and survivor support systems on campus to Chancellor Andrew Martin Nov. 23.

Title Mine’s proposals included required trainings for mandatory reporters, standardizing professors’ responses to accommodations, improving sexual violence prevention programming, expanding of mental health services and publishing a logistical and informational guide in the University’s Title IX Office.

Through the implementation of these new initiatives, faculty and staff at the University would be required to go through trauma informed training, which, according to President of Title Mine junior Candace Hayes, they are not currently required to do.

“That has a lot to do with the fact that we haven’t quite figured out mechanisms of accountability for tenured professors. For new hires and new faculty and staff, under the Division of Student Affairs, Dr. [Lori] White has some weight there that she can pull with them to have the faculty under her purview trained,” Hayes said. “But unfortunately, the majority of mandatory reporters on our campus aren’t effectively trained on how to respond to that.”

Title Mine has been meeting with administrators since they were established on campus in the spring of 2018. Due to reported mishandlings, many students say that they have lost trust in the administration. Title Mine has been working with the Director of the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center (R.S.V.P) Center Kim Webb, the Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Helpline (S.A.R.A.H), Leaders in Interpersonal Violence Education (L.I.V.E) and Director of the Title IX Office Jessica Kennedy to address these concerns.

“When you add in trauma and being a survivor on top of that, how do we go about adequately meeting their needs and making sure that they can trust and then administration and in the institutions like adequately respond?” Hayes said. “And then what do we do when these resources have failed those students, and then they don’t feel empowered to name that negative experience?”

Hayes said that one of the biggest challenges surrounding Title Mine this year has been the uncertainty of when Betsy DeVos will release the federal Title IX regulations, since the regulations will impact the campus community and other universities across the nation.

“And there’s no set deadline of when those regulations will be coming out,” Hayes said. “Honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if that bomb got dropped over winter break, because that’s what happened last year with the initial release of the new regulations.”

According to Hayes, the problem with the regulations being released over the holidays is that students are less inclined to pay attention to what is happening in the news and are less likely to stay informed.

“Students wanted to distance themselves from negative experiences that have happened on campus [and] both physically and mentally be separated,” Hayes said.

Title Mine plans to meet with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White Dec. 10. White wrote in a statement to Student Life that she looks forward to this meeting.

“Chancellor Martin and I both appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with our students who have been leading the Title Mine efforts,” White wrote. “It always is helpful to talk about our shared commitment to continually strengthening the University’s approach on these issues.”

According to White, most changes made within the Title IX department at the University have been student led.

“The progress we have made over the past few years has been done in partnership with our students,” White wrote. “In fact, many of the changes we have implemented evolved directly from input from our students, including creation of our Title IX Advisory Committee. The committee is an important channel for considering new ideas that are brought forward, including those that were shared in our meetings with Title Mine leaders.”

According to Vice President of Administration for Title Mine graduate student Jodie Goodman, Title Mine will continue to push for accountability among administrators moving forward.

“An important aspect of Title Mine’s mission has always been administrative accountability, and that will continue moving forward,” Goodman said. “We work to ensure there is institutional memory of what has been promised to students and a record of what progress is being made towards those ends.”

Currently, Hayes is focusing on creating a general body with a wider range of student voices, and she hopes to create a more sustainable structure for Title Mine as an organization.

“[I want to] make sure that this movement doesn’t end once we graduate or once we transition out of it because I think that would be so disheartening, because we know there’s so much work that needs to be done,” Hayes said. “And we want to empower these underclassmen to carry the torch.”

Editor’s Note:The Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Helpline (S.A.R.A.H) provides confidential and anonymous support and can be reached at 314-935-8080 24/7 during the fall and spring academic semesters.

There are counselors at the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center, located in Seigle Hall, Suite 435, available confidentially to any University student. The office can be reached at 314-935-3445 or by email at [email protected].

The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 1-800-656-4673 or via online chat at 24/7.

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