By Kaitlyn Alford
Last semester, the Student Government Association (SGA) and Title IX Coordinator Dr. Sylvia Gray worked to create a Student Title IX Advisory Committee (STAC). The mission of this organization is, as stated in the organization charter,
“To reduce the prevalence of sexual misconduct by establishing a diverse group of student leaders tasked with communicating the Title IX policy to the student body, while also identifying student needs and suggesting solutions to the administration. This body may also serve as a collective student voice on issues of sexual misconduct as it pertains to policy, sexual climate, and similar areas.”
An email delivered over break confirmed administration approval of the committee. As of this semester, STAC is operational. Kaylei Goodine (C’19) is the first chairperson of the committee. SGA President, Mac Bouldin (C’19), who initially worked with Gray to make the committee a reality, will be taking a mostly hands-off approach. The committee will operate independently of SGA, though Bouldin will continue to meet as needed with Goodine.
STAC will consist of 13 members, including the chairperson. 10 of these spots are reserved from members of the following organizations: SGA, the Interfraternity and Intersorority Councils (IFC/ISC), the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (one male and one female), the Order of the Gown, the Honor Council, proctors, and Admissions (i.e. Arcadian/Senior Interviewer). The remaining two seats will be filled by “at-large members.” These students and the chairperson will be approved by the SGA Senate after appointment by the SGA President.
While students have in the past formed organizations to address issues related to sexual misconduct, Bouldin, Gray, and the committee members wanted to be sure STAC has clearly defined initiatives and aims.
Keeping student feedback in mind, STAC is determined to take any action possible toward addressing what many students see as a toxic environment surrounding gender relations on campus:
“These actions may include, but are not limited to:
Reviewing University policies related to the Title IX process and sexual misconduct; Publishing reports of relevant details that emerge from policy reviews; Advocating for policy changes through the publication of reports and direct dialogue with administrators; Establishing task forces to research and review specific issues relevant to the committee’s purpose. These groups may consist of both Committee members and other members of the University community; Organizing public awareness campaigns related to Title IX and sexual misconduct; Creating a forum for students to share their concerns.”
“I’m very excited and nervous, I’ll say that,” said Bouldin, aware that many students have felt disenchanted in the past by short-lived plans to address these issues in the past. He wants to be sure that students are aware how committed he, Gray, and the rest of the STAC are to ensuring the ongoing success of this organization.
“When we started this, I drastically underestimated the amount of time and energy it would take to get this going,” said Bouldin. “It’s still not going quite yet, but when everything gets up and running, I think [STAC] has the ability to do a lot of great work on this campus. Hopefully students agree.”