By Kayla Tucker – A&E/Features Editor
Grand Rapids Community College’s Student Code of Conduct Office is currently taking baby steps towards completely fulfilling its Title IX requirements.
Title IX was created is to prevent gender discrimination of any kind in education. GRCC technically meets these goals, but only at a minimum.
Sara Dorer, Director of Student Life and Conduct, said that both of her departments have a goal of protecting women, the LGBTQ community and all people involved in misconduct and gender discrimination.
“This is really about everybody,” Dorer said. “It’s about people knowing what’s right and what’s not and knowing where those boundaries are.”
While universities like Grand Valley State University and Michigan State University have a whole department devoted to Student Conduct, Dorer holds all responsibility for the department at GRCC, and then some.
“We are making progress to do what we need to do and get there,” Dorer said, referring to the department’s “good faith effort” on meeting the basic requirements.
The college has recently shifted responsibilities in the department to meet the most recent Title IX requirements, which includes training students and staff to deal with sexual assault related situations. Dorer said that the policy document expanded from seven pages to 36.
Ashleigh Begres, graduate student at GVSU, was hired as Dorer’s assistant to get basic training and experience for the field she is going into. Begres currently is overseeing GRCC’s Campus Activities Board, works with the food pantry, and the Go See GR! program.
Evan Macklin, previously adviser of CAB, will now advise Student Alliance in place of Dorer and has taken on some additional responsibilities that give him the ability to fill in for Dorer in some circumstances.
The department is also planning on hiring a Americans with Disabilities Act and Title IX Coordinator, which will be a new position at the college.
“Our goal is to minimize barriers to education based on gender discrimination,” Dorer said. “We really need to work on our culture of students understanding what’s okay and what’s not.”
More than 90 colleges and universities are being investigated for not meeting Title IX requirements and GVSU is on that list.
Dorer encourages students to report cases and try to handle a situation before it gets worse.
“We want people to feel safe sitting down with us and talking about it,” Dorer said, who is also hopeful for continuous improvement at the college.
“I would say we’re in a pretty good place,” Dorer said. “We can always improve.”