During the presentation portion of the interviews for the new Title IX coordinator position, several candidates said that compassion and counseling do not fit into the role of a Title IX investigator.
While an investigator has to view both sides and remain unbiased, that doesn’t take away the fact that the majority of Title IX cases are sensitive. The ability to empathize in such a difficult time is a key factor in this job.
Coming forward with any issue regarding Title IX is courageous and should be taken seriously. The position may not be to counsel, but if it’s devoid of any compassion, then how can students feel safe coming forward?
Although the university is making a step in the right direction for students, more has to be done before students can truly feel safe. The university is creating a full-time position dedicated to all concerns regarding Title IX, but that is just one person for the thousands of students at ESU.
With a single person running Title IX there is no accountability or oversight.
In a department it requires collaboration from all employees to run smoothly. If ESU is going to refer to Title IX as a department, it needs to be treated as such. Similarly, a Title IX department should not be able to function with a single person.
Right now, the future Title IX coordinator will report directly to Kevin Johnson, general counsel. Johnson is the university’s lawyer, meaning the university is Johnson’s only client.
If the person who is supposed to be completing unbiased Title IX investigations is reporting to the university’s lawyer, who has a vested interest in protecting the university, how can we expect a fair investigation?
The students should be able to trust that the university has their best interest in mind. We should have a person dedicated to Title IX that shows compassion towards us and that we can trust.