Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Title IX brings sexual assault awareness

Plattsburgh State’s Title IX office has put forth a schedule of events for the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Title IX is a law that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The law also helps protect against sexual discrimination in education, no matter if it’s a student, faculty or staff, regardless of sex or gender identity. It also ensures that, “PSUC is stopping, preventing, and remedying sex discrimination, harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault in an immediate and equitable manner.”

Title IX Coordinator Butterfly Blaise is one of the people in charge of coordinating events hosted or ran by the Title IX office.

“The first event we have is the 10-day challenge, which is in response to a free speech forum we held in February,” Blaise said. “The 10 days of action are brainstorming ideas from what people in those forums had, which is focused on creating a more inclusive and bonded community on and off campus.”

Since April is also Campus Pride Month, along with it being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the office will be hosting events that overlap with one another.

In March, Title IX launched its RADIUS program, which stands for Reinvigorating Advocacy Diversity Intersectionality Understanding Self-love, which will be a theme for the Campus Pride month events.

“We are working on scheduling a town hall meeting so that people can learn what RADIUS is and to speak about gaps they see on campus,” Blaise said.

Blaise and Dinai Roberston, who is the violence prevention education outreach coordinator for Title IX, have been working closely together to create these events and to create a positive change on and off campus.

“Most of the events are through our minds, as well as the minds of the interns and peer educators,” Robertson said. “Everyone has the option to work with Title IX. We aren’t going to shut out anyone’s opinion.”

Starting tomorrow, April 1, there will be a Sexual Assault Awareness clothesline project that will be displayed in the Angel College Center.

“I think it gets ignored sometimes, people pass it without realizing,” Robertson said. “Those shirts this month will be dedicated to sexual assault survivors.”

Students can help decorate shirts for the project today and tomorrow on the third floor of the library in room 304. This will be the first of many events this month.

Trauma Informed Yoga will be offered again this year due to last year’s success, which will take place in Memorial Hall room 209 April 4 at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. April 7 and 7 p.m. April 12.

“The students, faculty, staff and community members loved it,” Robertson said. “It’s really just a way for people to reconnect with their body, mind and spirit. Of course we have yoga offered on campus, but for someone who has experienced trauma, they need yoga that is safe for them.”

To go along with these events, there will also be other opportunities to talk about and bring about change. Although change doesn’t happen overnight, the Title IX office is committed long-term to creating and establishing a positive environment for its surrounding community.

“I’m hoping that people get involved and that this is what they’re looking for,” Robertson said. “And if it’s not, I’m hoping that they can come to me so I can give them what they’re looking for.”

Saturday, April 22, the Center for Womyn’s Concerns will be hosting Take Back the Night at 7 p.m. in the ACC Ballrooms and will close out the month of April by wearing denim in support of sexual assault awareness April 26.

“We are hoping to see new faces and that people will come to learn, but also ask questions and provide feedback,” Blaise said. “And as always, if there are any questions about Title IX, we are always open to sit down with people individually or in a group in order to get people on board. Our long term goal is to change the culture of the campus, and to change the way in which we address issues of sexual and interpersonal violence. This office is here to serve everyone.”

Email Ezra Kachaturian at @cardinalpointsonline.com

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