This year every K student, staff, and faculty member will complete the “Agent of Change” online training. This ten-part series of avatars and animations complies with Title IX’s stipulations for sexual harassment and violence education. The term Title IX often brings to mind images of female sports teams and women athletes, however, it more broadly refers to equal access to educational opportunities for all. In 2011, Title IX officially extended to covering cases of sexual violence and harassment in educational settings.
“College is often the first place that people are really encountering this issue. There’s not a lot of sexual violence prevention work that’s going on in the K-12 system. We need to get it right,” said Dean Sarah Westfall, who is helping to facilitate the online trainings.
This sexual harassment and prevention outreach education will be a major part of the role of the college’s new Title IX Coordinator. The past coordinator, Stacy Nowicki, stepped down in April 2015 and K College has been searching for a new coordinator since that time. The initial plan was to combine the Title IX role with diversity inclusion trainings, and call the position the “Coordinator for Community Equity Initiatives.”
After two unsuccessful searches during the 2015-2016 academic year, the college chose to recreate the position as the “Director of Gender Equity” to focus on specifically gender-based discrimination on campus.
“The major difference in this new search is that during the previous two searches we were looking for someone with Title IX experience and someone who could also support intercultural needs,” said Renee Boelcke, the interim Title IX Coordinator and Human Resources Director.
Boelcke is hoping to have the finalists for the Director of Gender Equity position on campus this October and instate a permanent Title IX Coordinator in the next few months. The new Coordinator will need a background in compliance with Title IX initiatives, be able to learn the K community quickly, and offer a fresh pair of eyes for K’s current Title IX practices.
“It’s important that someone can focus their time and attention on the needs of our community, like student support and sexual respect…we need an expert who can help guide us to the next level of that support,” said Boelcke.