Late last month, students received a campus wide notification of the Title IX statute, outlining the purpose of the document as well as announcing that Casey Gill, Dean of Students, and Kevin Evans, Director of Human Resources, are the new Title IX coordinators for Wittenberg.
This replaces Donna Picklesimer as Title XI coordinator.
“I would like to clarify that just as the Torch has previously reported that the Assistant Director of International Education was eliminated through a reduction in force (RIF), so was the Director of Business Services,” said Kevin Evans. “The decisions to make a RIF are extremely difficult, but the administration must make position cuts to keep the university fiscally viable.
“Since Human Resources and Student Development work closely on Title IX issues, we thought this was the best time to create co-coordinators,” said Evans.
In their new positions, Gill will be handling mostly student cases, and Evans will cover staff and faculty.
“It made more sense because I know more about students than Kevin does,” said Gill. “And Kevin knows more about employment law than I do.“
The role of Title IX coordinator, according to last month’s email, is “to monitor and oversee overall implementation of Title IX compliance at the University, including coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community.”
One of the ways Gill hopes to use her new role is to improve education that students receive about sexual assault.
“We need to work on education with our student body,” said Gill. “I think it’s a matter of having the right students around the table.”
Gill hopes that students with new ideas will step forward and work with her to help create impactful programs surrounding sexual assault.
“As long as the government and higher education institutions are working to encourage a change in culture…we can continue to progress,” said Gill.
“If we ignore student concerns of sexual violence we’re not doing our part,” continued Gill. “We can’t ignore it. A safe environment is valuable to our students and creates an environment to make a student successful. I don’t think we’ve ever ignored it…but there is always room for improvement.”
A rise in sexual assault reports has swept across college campuses, including Wittenberg’s. According to the Campus Security Report, there was an increase in assaults from three in 2011, to ten in 2012.
“I would hope that a rise in reporting is a sign that people are more comfortable to come forward,” said Gill. “We have to focus on changing our campus culture.”
Another component to the Title IX coordinator position is to make sure that all university policies and codes are in compliance with the law. Gill stated that Wittenberg had many of these stipulations already in the policy; however, they still must be vigilant because laws are constantly changing.
“We are confident that as co-coordinators, we will continue our high standards of monitoring and overseeing overall implementation of Title IX Compliance at the University,” said Evans. “Including coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community.”