Title IX changes to be discussed in virtual open forum Monday

Anderson Hall is home to many administrative offices. (Bailey Britton | Collegian Media Group)

In light of recent federal changes to university Title IX policies, Kansas State’s Office of Institutional Equity will host an open forum Monday to discuss the changes and options the university has.

“Title IX policies affect many aspects of student life including discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment,” Jeff Morris, vice president of communications and marketing, said. “The purpose of the forum is to review the major changes in Title IX and define the process for campus input as we move forward.”

Clara Kientz, assistant director of the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education, said the changes made to the Title IX policy will greatly impact all students on campus.

“It’s an open discussion for folks to be heard as far as concerns go,” Kientz said. “I think it’s imperative that we educate ourselves on how we can best serve our population and show up for survivors who have experienced violence.”

Kientz outlined what she believes to be the most notable changes for the K-State community in an email, including:

  • A requirement for universities to hold live hearings in the case of sexual harassment allegations.
  • The changing of the definition of sexual harassment. The term is now defined as “unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to education.”
  • A policy that universities have jurisdiction over sexual harassment occurring off-campus at houses under the control of school-sanctioned fraternities or sororities. Fraternities and sororities are not affiliated with K-State, so Kientz said it may be necessary for the university to adjust this distinction to comply with the new policy.

The forum will be held virtually 11 a.m. Monday. The link to join can be found in the first paragraph of the K-State Today announcement about the changes, and will require a K-State eID for access.

Kientz said there was some concern students wouldn’t be able to attend the forum due to classes, but she encourages students to speak with their professors about attending.

“We would encourage students to attend to see how these changes might affect them,” Morris said.