August 31, 2018
Ms. Rosemary Kilkenny Esq.
Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action
Dr. Todd Olson
Vice President for Student Affairs
Dr. Vince WinklerPrins
Assistant Vice President for Student Health
Dear Ms. Kilkenny, and Dr. Olson, and Dr. WinklerPrins,
When Georgetown hired Laura Cutway three years ago as the University’s first full-time Title IX Coordinator, the University made a commitment to students that it is now failing to honor. Since Ms. Cutway left the University in June 2018, the position of full-time Title IX Coordinator has remained unfilled, something Georgetown failed to share with the student body.
For the last three months, the Title IX Investigator, Samantha Berner, is acting in a dual-role as both Investigator and Interim Coordinator. While we appreciate Ms. Berner’s dedication to the community, making one person do two demanding jobs is not only unfair to her but also to the students who have a legal right to a full and functioning Title IX office.
The University’s decision not to alert the student body about this critical change in personnel is alarming in its own right, but when considering the current political and social climate nationally and on our campus it is unconscionable. For the past two years, Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos has attacked Title IX and has clearly indicated that she aims to weaken the protections offered to survivors through new regulations expected in the coming weeks. Although Georgetown plans to conduct another Campus Climate Survey in Spring 2019, the University has demonstrated a persistent lack of transparency about the understaffing of our Title IX office as well as the institution’s progress in fulfilling the recommendations that arose from the 2016 Campus Climate Survey. Our community deserves better.
In that spirit, Georgetown University must:
November marks six months without a full-time Coordinator, and Georgetown has failed to release any updates concerning the hiring process. Students deserve the opportunity to participate in and oversee the search, especially when it concerns a position that serves and supports students to such an important degree.
Title IX Coordinators and Investigators play vastly different roles throughout the reporting process. Having a Coordinator potentially review an appeal of a case they also investigated hinders students’ rights to due process.
To the best of our knowledge, Georgetown has only completed two of the eleven recommendations. We recognize that progress may have been instituted in this time, however any advancements have not been shared with the Georgetown community.
The Sexual Assault Misconduct Advisory Committee (SAMAC) not only fails to address our community’s needs as a CCRT does, but also now lacks a co-chair without a full-time Title IX Coordinator. Students must receive information about the membership of the SAMAC, the mechanism for member recruitment, and what, if anything, it has accomplished.
In order to model our Jesuit values and act as Hoyas for others, the administration owes a public response to this letter by September 14, 2018.
Daria Crawford (COL ‘20)
Avery Moje (COL ‘19)
Kory Stuer (COL ‘19)
Andy Turner (SFS ‘20)
Susu Zhao (COL ‘19)