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Title IX Sparks Questions

Title ix campus, old west, dickinson magazine

The implementation of Title IX policies and procedures was a dominant topic at several colleges and universities this spring, including Dickinson. In February, the issue boiled to the surface in the form of a four-day student sit-in at the Holland Union Building, as students came together to express their concerns with the process for handling sexual assault cases on campus. Following is a Q&A with Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Inclusivity Brenda Bretz ’95 and Title IX Coordinator Kat Matic to help ensure that our community is aware of the history, policies and actions related to this charged topic.  

What is Title IX?

MATIC: Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in the college’s programs and activities. Title IX protects all members of our community, including students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors and guests, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.  

When was the current Title IX Office created and why?

BRETZ: In May 2018, the Title IX Office moved from the Division of Student Life to the newly formed Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Inclusivity, signaling that the office serves the entire campus. We relocated to a private and centralized location in Old West and hired Kat, a well-respected leader in the field who is passionate about this work. My goals are to ensure a safe and respectful campus and a supportive and equitable Title IX process, increase reports to the Title IX office, increase educational programs and collaboration with other offices on campus to deliver the programming, and produce an annual report that is communicated to campus.

Why is Dickinson involved in investigating sexual assaults on campus?

MATIC: We are required to respond to all reports of violations of Title IX, not only sexual assault. More importantly, we respond because of our commitment to support those who have been harmed, to empower them with information to make decisions and to assist them in obtaining support services. Our involvement allows us to institute measures designed to stop and eliminate any such sex- or gender-based discrimination, prevent the recurrence of the prohibited conduct and remedy any adverse effects of such conduct on campus or in college-related programs or activities.  

What are you doing differently following the protest?

MATIC: We are in the process of hiring a full-time investigator and providing, upon request, investigation packets to both the complainant and respondent, while upholding privacy of any witnesses or others involved in the investigation. We also are incorporating best practices and designing new programs to train all employees in compassionately receiving a disclosure of sexual and gender-based misconduct.  

BRETZ: In fall 2019, to provide transparent and complete information on what happens when a report is made, the policy had already been expanded. The Presidential Working Group is continuing to work on the Title IX Agreement items remotely. 

What is Dickinson doing regarding prevention and education?

MATIC: We know that education, awareness and implementing behavioral change are key to preventing and ultimately ending sexual and gender-based discrimination on campus and in our society. For information on all of our trainings and educational programs, visit the Education & Prevention page on our website. 

Does Dickinson report out on cases to the community?

BRETZ: Yes, we think it is important to share with the community information about cases without violating confidentiality. You can find the reports on the Title IX website

Where do I get more information?  

BRETZ: We appreciate the interest and input  from the alumni community and welcome the opportunity to hear from you. You’ll find additional information as well as our contact information at dickinson.edu/titleix.

Read more from the spring 2020 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

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Published May 13, 2020