On Thursday, SGA President Dan Davis and Dean of Students Sarah Moschenross announced an upcoming Title IX Info Session. The session will take place next Monday, September 28th from 8-9 PM in JRC 101. This event is intended to update the student body about a recent change to the sexual misconduct process and to allow students to ask questions about Title IX and sexual violence at Grinnell.

This event is highly anticipated because a similar event, Title IX Rewind, held last November in Lyle’s Pub, was protested by a group of concerned students called Dissenting Voices. Student protesters cited several concerns, one of which was that the facilitators of Title IX Rewind explicitly forbid students from speaking to their own experiences. The event was tightly controlled: students were allowed to ask questions, but only if those questions were scrubbed of any reference to conduct cases in which they were involved. Meanwhile, administrators on the panel spoke to the specifics of what they had done in other cases.

In an effort to work collaboratively with a greater number of students, members of SGA and the Title IX Office reached out to Dissenting Voices at the beginning of the semester. Over the course of several meetings, we advocated for changes to ensure the Info Session more equitably included student voices.

Sarah Moschenross, the new Dean of Students, will discuss the policy changes and an overview of the process for 10-15 minutes, and the remaining 45 minutes will be dedicated to student questions. SGA President, Dan Davis, will field questions with Dean Moshenross. The event is planned to allow anyone in the audience, Title IX deputies and student alike, to comment. We value the anticipated inclusion of student voices in this event.

In addition to describing the new policy change, this event is particularly timely because many students may have questions related to the pending Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation into Grinnell’s Title IX compliance. This investigation was opened after students filed complaints of administrative mishandling of Title IX cases. The OCR investigation will examine the last three years of conduct cases and may take several years to complete. We hope that the the Title IX Info Session will inform students how their voices can contribute to the investigation and highlight which changes could be made to Grinnell’s process between now and when the OCR’s findings are released.

We hope that this event will be an opportunity for students to ask tough questions and for all to find common ground on this important issue. Before the event, we plan to release our updated Aims and Goals document, in which we highlight a number of changes that we would like to see implemented. In particular, we would like to ask you to join us in considering: Why are students who are found responsible of “non-consensual sexual intercourse” not expelled from our small campus? Why does the updated policy force survivors to recount their experience on multiple occasions?  What can we do to maximize the usefulness of the Sexual Climate Survey data collected last semester?

In order to discuss these issues and many others, Dissenting Voices will be holding a meeting directly after the Title IX Info Session. Please join us from 9-10 pm on Monday, September 28th in JRC 209 to discuss the event and plan actions this semester. We encourage all students to attend.