College must follow coordinator change with honest policy implementation that delivers justice for survivors
On March 25, when I opened an email from the Office of Communications, I expected the usual: a notice about an upcoming lecture. I was shocked to see instead that Andrea Goldblum, our current Title IX coordinator, was going to be leaving her position by June 1, less than a year after she began at Kenyon. While it was relieving to learn that, as opposed to leaving the position vacant, College administrators had decided to hire Samantha Hughes as the new coordinator, this sudden change within an important office of the College raised more questions than it answered.
It is no secret the Title IX policy and its implementation have been far from perfect. At Kenyon and schools across the country, multiple lawsuits and claims of misdirected Title IX application have surfaced, creating debate and controversy. Within only the previous academic term at Kenyon, a student created an online petition demanding better safety measures for survivors. It’s clear that even after an extensive policy modification that problems still exist.
As a result, we are all left wondering how this sudden administrative change will play into questions about, and the procedural discrepancies within, our Title IX system. Will it bring clarity and consistency to the enforcement of Title IX policy? Unfortunately, probably not. The problem extends far beyond policy and, despite our boasts of progressiveness, reflects a culture of patriarchy and survivor-blaming deeply entrenched on college campuses.
The fact of the matter is, despite my respect for this academic institution, if segments of the administration exist that prefer to hush up Title IX incidents rather than properly investigate them, that compromises the integrity of the College.
In turn, by pushing these issues under the rug, these segments of the administration could trivialize the realities of rape, abuse and inequity, which leak into both the faculty and student body’s mindsets. To remedy these issues, we need not only a change in campus discourse, but also a Title IX coordinator willing to ceaselessly advocate for proper policy implementation despite internal pressures to do otherwise. It is undoubtedly a difficult endeavor, and I hope to see the College change in a way that defies my modest expectations.
Hayley Yussman ’18 is an English and political science major from Oak Park, Ill. Contact her at email@example.com.