The Student Government Association (SGA) discussed the importance of The Associated Students of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (ASUM) and proper Title IX procedures at a meeting last week.
ASUM is a student group on campus that keeps track of bills that affect students and has been around since 1975. Members of ASUM can lobby for or against these bills in Jefferson City.
Current bills ASUM is working on getting passed include letting students vote on the Board of Curators, securing STEM funding for low-income individuals, changing tuition language to be more transparent and a family tax-cut bill that would reduce the price on diapers and other related items.
Members of the SGA expressed how they want to retain the student fee that allows ASUM interns to represent UMKC at Jefferson City. The fee equates to 15 cents per credit hour.
Title IX coordinator Sybil Wyatt made an appearance at the meeting and discussed the procedure that occurs when a complaint is filed.
She explained that when a third-party complaint is filed, an email is sent to the affected individual, giving them helpful resources.
Wyatt also described the complexity of a first-party complaint. She said typically, academic and housing arrangements can be made, meaning class schedules or rooming arrangements can be altered to keep an individual distant from his or her intimidator. A mutual no-contact agreement may also be implemented if both parties agree to it.
Wyatt said an investigation must take place in order for an accused person to receive punishment (whether that be a written note on file, suspension or dismissal from the university).
There is no time limit as to when an investigation can take place, but it becomes difficult to conduct a proper investigation when time has passed, seeing as information may become skewed.
Wyatt also discussed new policies the federal government is implementing regarding Title IX. One of these new policies requires a victim to engage in direct questioning with his or her aggressor. If the victim refuses to do this, the case may be thrown out.
“I want fairness, and I believe in due process,” said Wyatt. “But I also want empathy for the victim.”
Wyatt also mentioned Violence Prevention and Response, an on-campus organization that aids in victim support. She wants as many students to be aware of this beneficial resource as possible and take advantage of it. The organization aids abuse victims through difficult situations and connects them with resources such as food pantries, domestic violence centers and more.