Campus meets federal Title IX regulations

Oswego State recently introduced updated Title IX guidelines that meet a federal mandate giving college students additional rights of protection from stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual violence.

This protection goes beyond the already instituted Title IX legislation, which prevents sex discrimination on college campuses.

Title IX protection extends to students, employees and third parties that interact with the college community. These third parties include, but are not limited to, postal delivery employees, construction workers and guest lecturers. College campuses are mandated, by law, to educate their communities about Title IX anti-discrimination legislation and by July 2015, all college campuses nationwide need to be fully compliant with federal Title IX regulations, according to the Office of Student Conduct and Compliance.

The 1972 Title IX legislation states that “no person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” This piece of legislation also includes sexual violence.

“SUNY is ahead of the game in that we are already putting some of the policy, procedure and training into place before the final regulations are out in November,” said Lisa Evaneski, Oswego State’s Title IX coordinator and associate dean of students for the  Office of Student Conduct and Compliance. “Since we started the information sessions during the summer of 2011 —we have trained thousands of students and employees. This week I invited over 200 student organizations to attend one of our information sessions or to request that I attend their club meetings.”

This year, campus community members are being informed of new protections guaranteed by federal law in regards’ to rights not entirely defended by Title IX legislation itself. In March 2013, President Barack Obama signed and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, which included amendments to the Jeanne Clery Act which was enacted in 1990. These amendments to the Clery Act give additional rights to campus victims of sexual violence, but also include rights to those impacted by dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Overall, these rights will help universities with dating violence not covered under Title IX. These changes are also federally instituted and mandated. Universities are required to continue educating their communities accordingly.

“It means we will have better policies and procedures in place that will assist with relationship violence that does not qualify as sexual assault or harassment,” Evaneski said.

Some students have felt that Title IX alone might have not protected them from all dangers stereotypically associated with college life. The amendments to the Clery Act changes this mentality.

“Your parents always warn you about stalking and domestic violence being on college campuses so knowing I’m protected makes a big deal to not only me, but my parents,” said Katie Walther a junior at Oswego State. “Now that I know about the Clery Act, I’m interested in attending an information session to learn about more rights I have on campus that I wasn’t aware of.”

With the Clery Act amendments, members of university communities are being provided more rights guaranteed federally for protection than they might understand. Over the past several years the amount of reports on Oswego State’s campus in regards to Title IX has increased slightly, according to the Office of Student Conduct and Compliance. This is not because there have been more incidents on campus. Due to the thousands of employees and students being trained, educated and informed, more community members have been made aware of these protections and rights, along with how to report incidents both confidentially and anonymously.

With the added education of the Clery Act amendments in Title IX information sessions and trainings recently, Oswego State hopes to reach even more students who might need help understanding sex discrimination violations.

“I think [in] adding these areas we can help those that did not consider reporting in the past,” Evaneski said. “We hope that by getting this information out there that we will get reports and be able to get help to victims going through this very personal and difficult time.”

Recent incidents have raised concerns about stalking as a problem at Oswego State.

“I believe incidents of stalking are very possible on this campus, there are just too many situations where they can occur,” said Justin McAuslana, senior social studies education major. “That’s why I believe these are great incorporations to Title IX information sessions because you never know when you need this information. But if you do, the information is accessible.”

While many students who work on campus and employees are required to attend Title IX training sessions, Lisa Evaneski along with Title IX investigators, the Office of Student Conduct and Compliance and Oswego State are urging the importance of reporting incidents along with attending one of the many information sessions offered throughout the semester in Marano Campus Center room 201.

To sign up for an information session use the following link: http://www.oswego.edu/about/titleix/presentation.html