Title IX gets new guidelines and new campus coordinator

A shift in the approach toward gender equity is taking place on college campuses across the U.S., and UNA is following suit.

A familiar face is taking on a new role as Tammy Jacques, former director of Student Engagement, is becoming acclimated to the duties and protocol of her new role as Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator.

Jacques said legislation is being enacted and updated every day with Title IX affecting each student in some way, although many may be unaware.

The main proponents of the mandatory changes under new Title IX federal regulations are education and prevention, she said.

“Everyone on campus including students, faculty and staff will have to be trained on the new legislation,” she said. “As an institution, we’ve got to really communicate to victims of crime who they can turn to and report to.”

Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972, which 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.”

UNA’s Title IX retainer lawyer Brett Sokolow said the update protects students from hazing, bullying, gender identity discrimination, and discrimination against pregnant or parenting teens. Sokolow is the president and CEO of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM) Group.

“Gender equity is an inherent good in education,” he said. “All these changes are intended to help to further and foster gender equity so that full participation in the education experience is right for all.”

He described the mandates as complex, complicated and onerous, but said, “many campuses are gearing up to meet them, blending live trainings with online trainings and curricular infusion.”

Jacques said she would like to have a plan of action established this year, and she currently is collaborating with other campus entities to develop strategies for campus-wide education.

“We’re looking at what it is we are doing currently as far as education and prevention under Title IX, and what it is we can do next,” she said. “We’re trying to do everything in our power to make sure people in the UNA community feel comfortable.”

UNA Athletics, the University Police Department, and the Office of Student Conduct are participating in the discussions.

University Police Chief Bob Pastula said he believes the education component is important because when students coming to college for the first time get away from home, they could potentially put themselves in harm’s way.

“We’ve always had educational programs,” Pastula said. We’re just going to be stepping up what we’ve already been doing. Since there are other organizations on campus aiding the education and prevention piece, I think this will cause positive change on campus.”

Jacques said education could produce one of two effects:

“It could bring in more cases, meaning students could feel more comfortable reporting it,” she said. “Or it could have a preventative effect and the number of cases could decrease.”

She said there are no current Title IX investigations at UNA that she is aware of, adding she plans to keep it that way.

Any student in need of help with a Title IX-related issue should contact Jacques at 256-765-4248, Pastula at 256-765-4357 or Director of Student Conduct Kim Greenway at 256-765-5012.