We no longer have a properly trained and sufficiently staffed Title IX Office, and we do not know why. Amanda Walsh, former Title IX Program Officer, and Jessica Katz, former Title IX Investigator, the two staff members that made up the entirety of the Title IX Office, have resigned. The office is now being temporarily run by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, an office that is overburdened and has neither the expertise needed to address Title IX cases nor the lawyers to do so. Furthermore, the university has refused to adequately inform Brown community members about this change or lay out a timeline or process for addressing these empty positions. We demand:
- A letter that announces the departure of both members of the Title IX Office immediately. This letter should include: 1) A timeline and process the University will commit to for filling these positions with permanent staff. Ad hoc employment of investigators is not sufficient. 2) A list of current resources available to students. 3) A clear protocol during this temporary and transitional period for students who need Title IX Office resources, especially pertinent legal assistance.
- That the office be staffed by individuals who can fulfill all of the roles, in addition to the roles that Amanda and Jessica took on, needed to make the Title IX Office an accessible and efficient resource for all students. We demand at least three licensed, trained, and permanent staff to handle the large load of cases the Office has faced by the beginning of Fall 2017.
-The continuation of the postdoc position at the Title IX Office.
- The hiring of a community resource representative to advocate and address the needs of those who file a Title IX complaint throughout the entirety of applicable Title IX processes outlined here by Fall 2017.
-An explanation of what Brown will do to support transgender students, staff, and faculty given the Department of Education's recent decision to withdraw its guidance on the protections afforded transgender students under Title IX. The below resource indicates that this decision does not mean that transgender students are no longer protected under Title IX; it covers all gender-based discrimination. However, Brown University must address the specific implications of this withdrawal of protection for transgender students especially since we do not have a functioning Title IX Office at this time.http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/faq-on-the-withdrawal-of-federal-guidance-on-transgender-students
These demands represent the bare minimum of what Brown community members should expect in terms of transparency and administrative support, especially for something as vital to the equitable functioning of the University as the Title IX Office. Join us in solidarity to petition for these demands. As President Paxson has stated, “Every instance of sexual assault at Brown is an egregious violation of our community values. I urge each and every one of you to contribute to addressing sexual violence.” Let’s hold President Paxson accountable to her own commitment to end sexual assault and sexual harassment on Brown’s campus.
Given the Department of Education's most recent decision to withdraw its guidance on the protections afforded transgender students under Title IX, the fact that Brown no longer has a functioning Title IX office compounds the harm of this egregious attempt to normalize hate.
We expect an official response from the administration with all due haste that addresses each of the demands listed here.