Section: News

On the Record: Andrea Goldblum, Civil Rights Coordinator

On the Record: Andrea Goldblum, Civil Rights Coordinator

Courtesy of The Lantern

by Phoebe Roe

For Andrea Goldblum, civil rights is more than an ideal: it’s her job. As the new civil rights coordinator at Kenyon, she will oversee Title IX issues and dealing with possible civil rights violations. She leaves her former position as manager of regulatory compliance at Margolis Healy, a service firm specializing in campus safety and compliance. Goldblum was the former Title IX coordinator at the Ohio State University (OSU), before she resigned, citing a lack of support at OSU for Title IX goals, according to The Lantern.

At The University of Oklahoma, we’ve seen videos surfacing featuring students using racial slurs. You worked at OSU for awhile. Have you seen things like that firsthand?

I’ve seen them throughout my career. I think what has changed is technology; nothing is really private or secret anymore. We have a culture now where people are recording their lives and those recordings are available. When you look at Oklahoma, clearly somebody who didn’t agree with what was going on released that video and so we’re getting much more good evidence of this behavior and as we get more evidence about it, it’s shocking to people. I think these things have always been there; it’s just now we have it in front of us. I think we need to go to the cause, not just the symptoms of the problems.

Do you think technology will help eliminate inequities or will make them worse?

I think we need to learn to use technology wisely to help. The current generation of college students, for example, are very technologically oriented, so we need to use that technology as a tool to help with these issues. On one hand it’s good because it exposes [injustices]; it’s good that they’re getting exposed because otherwise they’re just underground and they fester.

So the recent attention has been good for your field?

In some ways I think so, because now [the issues] are more out in the open. This allows us to know what’s happening so we can intercede or we can provide an intervention. If we don’t know what’s happening it makes it really difficult for us to provide that intervention. We can do it very generally but not specifically.

This year Kenyon has been making an effort to create more equality for nonbinary and transgender students across campus. What role will your office play in continuing those efforts?

Transgender efforts are very much within the realm of what my office will be working with. Looking at gender discrimination, that also includes gender identity ­— whether someone is transexual, transgender — so those are definitely things I will be looking at.

What are your ideas to improve civil rights on campus?

Spreading knowledge so there’s more primary prevention. We looked, not so much at how victims can reduce the risk, but how we can stop people from raping, how we can increase bystander intervention and taking care of each other within our community.

Will you be getting any help from different student groups on campus?

I certainly hope so. I think that there are people that are very concerned or students who are very concerned and willing to be involved. This can’t just be done by the administration; everybody needs to be involved. I think it’s more effective if it’s not just something that is imposed on students but that students are involved in as well.

How do you see the field changing in the next few years?

I think that we will be –– and this is not just for Kenyon but across the country –– we will be trying to find a balance for what is required by law and what is best for our communities. The law is a minimum, it’s a baseline. We need to create things that meet the minimum but that really help our community and the character of the community. I think that we will continue to see a government that has a very strong enforcement agenda and continued investigations of college campuses.

Andrea Goldblum will start her new job as Kenyon’s civil rights coordinator on April 8.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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