Title IX training sessions reaffirm commitment to protect and support UW community

UW Tacoma held a Title IX train­ing Nov. 15 in William W. Philip Hall. The training, also called Preventing and Responding to Sexual harassment & Sexual Violence, was held during two interactive sessions: 9–10:30 a.m. and 2–3:30 p.m. Both ses­sions were led by Valery Richardson, the University of Washington Title IX co­ordinator, who discussed UW policies, support services and reporting options.

Mentha Hynes-Wilson, vice chan­cellor of Student and Enrollment services, welcomed students, staff and faculty to the event and explained the purpose of the training.

“The university has designed cer­tain policies and practices that they are expecting us to be knowledgeable of,” Hynes-Wilson said. “I think it’s important that we just take the time to get familiar with them. Those of us at the vice chancellor level [have a goal] to further educate the campus community about the impact [of sexual harassment and violence on] students — but also [on] all of us. Any member of our campus com­munity can be impacted.”

After her remarks, Hynes-Wilson introduced Richardson who started her presentation with an explanation of Title IX. Title IX is part of the education amendments of 1972, and it states, “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.”

UW carries out the objectives of Title IX through a coordinated sys­tem of initiatives, programs and ser­vices that collectively protect educa­tional access, advance gender equity, and prevent and respond to sexual harassment, sexual violence and gen­der discrimination.

Title IX has five focus areas that prohibit sexual harassment and any discrimination in athletics, science, technology, engineering and math, and discrimination against LGBTQ and pregnant and parenting individuals.

“One of the things I always point out about Title IX is that it applies to all UW locations and sites,” Richard­son said. “Title IX also holds account­able and protects all members of the university community. It applies to students, faculty and staff. [They] can benefit from sections of this and also be held accountable to this regardless of what [their] status is as a member of the community.”

Richardson also discussed UW policy and its relation to Title IX. University policy prohibits disparate treatment — any kind of sexual ha­rassment, retaliation or relationship that creates a conflict of interest. These can all be found in Executive Order No. 31, 51, 54 and student policies chapter 201.

Richardson then talked about two forms of sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is “submission to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made either an implicit or explicit condition or is used as the basis for a decision that affects em­ployment or academics.”

The other form is hostile environ­ment. This form has two parts: un­wanted verbal, nonverbal, physical or cyber sexual behavior and the harassment escalating to a point of severity that a work or learning en­vironment becomes hostile.

For both of these forms of harass­ment, Richardson explained, the uni­versity has a non-retaliation policy that prohibits retaliation against any individual that either reports a dis­crimination or harassment concern, or cooperates with an investigation.

“The philosophy here is that often times people don’t come forward and ask for help or support or make a report because they’re worried about the impact it might have on the rela­tionship with the person that has … control over them,” Richardson said.

The training also covered the definition of sexual misconduct and how to recognize these behaviors. Richardson gave an example of a “mythical” colleague or classmate to illustrate how behaviors can range from unwanted comments to serious nonstop threats.

The training session concluded with resources and reporting options for students and employees, as well prevention strategies.

“Anybody here can experience sexual misconduct and be a target of it,” Richardson said. “Anybody can be harassers, anybody can be harassed … All of you as employees and students have resources available for you if you find yourself in this situation.”

These resources available to UW students and employees are both on and off campus, whether they want to seek support or make a report. Sev­eral of these resources can be found on cards located in restrooms around campus. Confidential support — meaning that information will not be shared — includes Victim Advocate, Tacoma General Hospital Emergency Room, YWCA of Pierce County, and Student Health Services — a partner­ship between CHI Franciscan Health and SHS committed to providing healthcare services for UWT students.

Other support services include Student Counseling Services — lo­cated in MAT 354, Rebuilding Hope, Sexual Assault Center for Pierce County and the Crystal Judson Fam­ily Justice Center.

Individuals who want to make a re­port can visit the Title IX investigation office, the University Complaint Inves­tigation and Resolution Office, Human Resources or talk to SafeCampus.

SafeCampus can connect indi­viduals with the police, the Title IX coordinator, or a confidential advo­cate that provides free 24/7 safety planning and support. Richardson stressed to the training attendees that it is important to remember that mak­ing a report does not remain confi­dential as it requires an investigation and questioning.

Among the preventative strategies she shared was to notice the situation, see it as a concern, assume responsibil­ity, know what to do and do something about it. Richardson hopes that there will be greater understanding of how to prevent sexual misconduct, harass­ment and violence in the future through better training and outreach. She also encourages individuals to be resources and allies, rather than just bystanders.

PHOTO BY SARAH SMITH

Leticia is the News Editor for The Ledger. She is a Senior majoring an Urban Studies and hopes to become an Urban Planner. She is interested in all things happening around campus and loves to learn new things and meet new people.

Leticia Bennett

Leticia is the News Editor for The Ledger. She is a Senior majoring an Urban Studies and hopes to become an Urban Planner. She is interested in all things happening around campus and loves to learn new things and meet new people.