A crash course in Title IX reporting

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 at 7:34 PM

When it comes to Title IX at Edinboro University and the greater community, reporting forms of sexual violence plays a key role. The EU Title IX policy protects its students from sex discrimination, sexual and gender-based harassment, and acts of sexual violence, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, race and citizenship.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Education defines Title IX as: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Each academic year, Andrew Matt, Title IX coordinator at EU, and Angela Vincent, the campus chief of police, see less than 10 students when it comes to reporting Title IX complaints.

Most of the complaints tend to come from women reporting they are being stalked or sexually assaulted. To help these students, they encourage them to file confidential complaints followed by counseling offered by the Ghering Health Center’s C.A.P.S. Program.

Vincent explained the campus police’s role in the Title IX landscape, along with the range of cases that may be brought to their attention. 

“All Title IX complaints are not relevant to this office...when information is received that has a criminal component to it, the alleged victim has the option of reporting the incident to the police. They also have the option of deciding if they want to be identified to the police.”

She continued: “Although the police may receive information that there was a violation, we may not have enough information to investigate the allegation. If the alleged victim does want to report to our department, we launch an investigation into the incident. If not, we merely have to document that a complaint was filed.”

The campus itself provides education and training programs to raise awareness and prevent sex discrimination and sexual misconduct.

“We offer our online training each semester for faculty, staff and students,” Matt said. “We also offer in-person training; we do two weeks each semester and those are covered by the Crime Victims Center of Erie. The CVC comes in so it’s different than me talking to everyone all the time.”

When the university hires new employees, Matt gives them Title IX and social equities training, covering the basics they will need to know.

 “If fraternities or sororities, other organizations, need training, we will provide that to them,” Matt said. “I’ve done training for the athletic community where all the Edinboro athletes come together and are trained all at once.”

Students should feel safe on their own campus, and they should be able to walk around not worrying about someone following them or possibly assaulting them. That’s not what college is about. For students coming from out of state or simply too far away to commute, EU should feel like their home away from home.

Vincent and her police staff will help any student when it comes to the crimes of sexual assault, stalking, rape and sexual harassment. Matt will help students with this, as well. Both will work hard to see students can get the help they may need after a complaint is filed.

Matt strongly encourages any student to report their Title IX incident; it will not only help protect the student reporting, but also other students on the campus and in the community.

To file a Title IX report, the campus police will take a walk-in complaint to discuss what happened. To file a complaint directly to Matt, he can be reached at equalopportunity@edinboro.edu.

Tags: title ix

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