Title IX policies won’t change on campus, administrators say


by Emma Schlenker, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced last month changes to Title IX, affecting how colleges handle reports of sexual assault.

“Simpson College policy will not change as a result of this announcement from the Department of Education,” Rich Ramos, Simpson College Title IX coordinator, said in an email to the student body.

Expectations of students will also remain the same.

“We continue to expect everyone in our community to use our policies regarding sexual misconduct as a guide for how to respond and report incidents of sexual misconduct,” Ramos said.

Many Simpson student groups and organizations are dedicated to supporting the education and awareness of sexual assault policies on campus.

As the overseeing body for Simpson sororities, the Simpson College Panhellenic Council said in a statement, “We, as the Simpson College Panhellenic, stand in support of survivors of sexual harassment and assault.”

The council encourages programming to benefit and educate the campus on sexual assault.

“We will continue to work to change any elements of our campus culture that foster sexual violence through risk management, collaboration with our Sexual Assault Response Advocate (SARA) program and personal work to better the community,” the Panhellenic Council said.

Tristan Carmen, president of SARA, said the recent changes to Title IX policies are dangerous and unnecessary.

Carmen is glad Simpson College isn’t going to change its current policies.

“I encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, or anyone who has questions regarding the policy, to reach out to myself and other SARAs, which are confidential, or Rich Ramos,” Carmen said.

Agents of Change is an organization dedicated to educating campus about sexual assault and harassment. The organization started as a group who performed “It’s On Us” once a year, but has expanded to a year-round organization

Abbie Carpenter, president of the Agents of Change, said the group will focus on showing students there are healthy sexual and nonsexual relationships in college and will help shed light on what that may look like.

As the group grows, changes in Title IX policies may affect the ways they are able to act on campus.

“We can only keep working hard and showing that we do care and that this is an important topic for all college students to understand and feel comfortable with,” Carpenter said.

Agents of Change will most likely be able to continue their work regardless of policy changes, but it would most affect the SARA club and organization “who handles the real grunt work of this topic,” Carpenter said.

Liz Nimmo, president of the Feminist Club, said she is disappointed in the Trump administration’s decision to change Title IX sexual assault policies “because we should be concerned with rights of victims, not with the protection of perpetrators.”

Nimmo is glad Simpson has chosen to keep the current policies in place.

“It’s important to me that my college supports survivors, and it’s clear the administration is making efforts to do so,” she said.