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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 7, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Editorial: Title IX programs must remain a college priority

With the aim of raising awareness about sexual assault on campus and strengthening the role of the Title IX office, Title IX Coordinator Tiffani Ziemann has implemented a framework for new initiatives in the form of committees and an online training module.

Given the concerning pattern of wavering administrative support for key offices and services on campus, such as the Honors Program and the Office of Civic Engagement, the college should be wary of letting Ziemann’s efforts fall by the wayside.

These initiatives represent a positive step forward for the college. At a time when there is greater awareness about sexual assault and sexual violence on college campuses, it is the hope that these initiatives increase knowledge about sexual assault to create a more inclusive campus environment. As these programs are implemented, it is essential that Ziemann take note of any concerns and make changes accordingly so as to create the strongest and most efficient programs possible.

These new initiatives will involve partnerships with student organizations on campus, such as Active Minds and Feminists United. Creating connections like these, between an administrative program and student groups, are key to engaging the student body with important issues such as Title IX and sexual assault. Many times, administrative initiatives become disconnected from the student body, with no real collaboration save for the small handful of students who are directly involved with them. The approach these new Title IX programs are taking makes the effort to form meaningful partnerships among different constituents on campus for the betterment of the overall community.

However, because these initiatives were made possible through an increase in funding, their continuation must flow from sustained funding from the college. It is important, then, that the Title IX office continue to receive administrative support so that it can continue to provide adequate resources for the Ithaca College community.

Given the importance of addressing sexual assault and gender equity on college campuses, it would benefit the administration to continue to support the program and be receptive to those who work within the office. If the pattern of ignoring the needs of certain vital college programs continues, especially those that seek to improve the social and educational experience of its students, the college as a whole suffers.