Title IX resources available to students

By Olivia Deloian, Staff Reporter

Jeremy Marynowski
Title IX resources available to students

With raised awareness and emphasis on allowing survivors to be heard as a result of the Me Too movement, more allegations of sexual abuse are revealed every day. Students have resources such as Title IX, as well as outside options, to help them if they were to be abused.

“A lot of students don’t know what [Title IX] resources are because you don’t want to think  they apply to you, and you don’t end up having to find out what they are until you need to,” said Sasha Solov, coordinator at VOICES, Violence On Illinois Campuses Elimination Strategies.

VOICES is a joint effort between Life Span—which provides services for women and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Chicago—suburban Cook County and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to increase services for students who are victims of sexual abuse and increase accountability of offenders.

“We just want more students and administrators to know what they have at their disposal. A lot of students don’t know what Title IX is or how it works,” Solov said.

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally-funded education program or activity, according to the the Education Amendments of 1972.

Janely Rivera is Columbia’s Title IX coordinator and director of Equity Issues, and she said she was appointed in July after previously working as the investigator and deputy coordinator from January 2017 until May 2018.

She replaced previous Title IX Coordinator Rabia Khan Harvey.

Rivera said the college is seeking an investigator to take on her previous role, while continuing to plan events that raise awareness of resources designed to help students who might be victims of sexual assault.

Upcoming events held by the college and other organizations include “Legal Options Beyond Title IX” Oct. 9 at 623 S. Wabash Ave., VOICES Fall Symposium Oct. 19 at Northeastern University as well as a “Sexual Misconduct Conference” event Nov. 9 at the University of Chicago, Rivera said.

Solov said the Oct. 19 symposium, held at 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., has two  sections.

“The first half is targeted at Title IX coordinators and other administrators who work with students, and the second half is more generally about victim blaming and changing our culture around that and how we talk about sexualized violence,” Solov said. “That presentation will definitely be pertinent to students.”

Rivera said she especially hopes students attend the Oct. 9 event because it will communicate options beyond the college.

“[It] is something we are hosting internally,” Rivera said. “[It focuses on] what options students have if they were to go and file a civil no-contact order or a stalking no-contact order with the courts.”

Jacqueline Theodore, a confidential advisor and coordinator of student organizations, is a member of the Sexual Assault Awareness Education Committee—an organization  of students and staff responsible for educating the student body on the topic of Title IX and sexual assault—which is involved with Columbia’s Oct. 9 event.

A confidential advisor provides emergency and ongoing support to survivors of sexual violence with the training, duties and responsibilities described in Section 20 of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act.

“The committee is trying to raise awareness on campus through education, workshops, conversations, interactive programs and that’s what they’ve been doing,” Theodore said. “[SAAEC] is a way to showcase to the students a more inviting way to talk about sexual violence on campuses, educate them around what those policies are and showcase programming that’s raising that awareness.”

Theodore said the committee continually tries to raise awareness about sexual assault resources, but there is always more that can be done.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the committee again to really talk through some of those things,” Theodore said. “It’s important to not prescribe something to the student body but to listen to what the student body needs.”