As schools across the University grapple with allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment, the word “BASIX” — fashioned out of a formation of black and red posters — hangs on the glass walls of the School of Management’s second floor library, a reminder of the school’s sexual misconduct and Title IX resources.
The individual posters include Merriam-Webster Dictionary format definitions of terms related to sexual misconduct procedure, including “SHARE Center” and “stalking.” The display, which will remain plastered across the library wall until this Friday, is part of a recent push for Title IX awareness, education and empowerment at the school and across the University by SOM’s Title IX working group. The mural intends to clarify jargon related to sexual misconduct and provoke positive everyday conversations regarding available University resources, said several members of the awareness sub-committee of the SOM Title IX working group.
“The issue of sexual assault especially has become more complicated as the #MeToo movement has happened in the last year,” said Jasmine Torres SOM ’20, a member of the sub-committee. “There is a lot of confusion about what’s considered sexual assault, and we felt like there was a need for reiterating some very basic definitions.”
According to Helen Knight SOM ’20, another sub-committee member, the group set out to heighten community awareness on the issue because it wanted to “cut through the noise” of the vast amounts of information students are “bombarded with,” while “target[ing] the confusion in information [they] perceived to exist around Title IX.”
Torres added that conversations surrounding sexual misconduct and Title IX procedures, while well-presented and explained, tend to happen at a time when students — especially those in their first year — are overwhelmed with other new information.
“A lot of this sexual misconduct conversations in large schools happen at the beginning of year — nothing is said after that unless something goes wrong,” Torres said. “We’re hoping that we’re using ‘Back to BasIX’ to weave that conversation into daily life.”
Assistant Director for Academic Affairs & Student Life and Title IX working committee member Kit Heeley noted that these mandatory trainings for staff and students at the beginning of the year are a “great first step.” Still, the committee is aiming to make Title IX awareness and education “no longer just a checkbox you tick at the beginning of the year,” he said.
Beyond the poster campaign and the “awareness” goal of the committee, the working group is also seeking to “educate” and “empower” community members, Torres said. While the group is still finalizing details on how to further achieve their goals, they are planning to hold educational events and reach out to student groups to help strengthen the campaign within the student body. On Thursday afternoon, the SOM’s Student Government hosted a comment writing workshop as part of the Back to BasIX campaign, where students reviewed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ proposed rules for Title IX and drafted comments. These new requirements include mandatory cross-examination in sexual misconduct adjudication as well as other measures to balance the interests of the accuser and the accused.
“The hope is that this is not just a campaign for this semester but something that repeats itself in years to come,” Heeley said.
According to Heeley, both SOM leadership and the University’s Title IX Office have offered their support for the initiative.
“We have a vibrant and committed Title IX working group that includes faculty, students, and staff,” SOM Dean Edward Snyder wrote in an email to the News. “They focus on every-day issues and how each member of the community is responsible for developing the kind of learning environment we want. Those kinds of community-based efforts are, in my view, far more effective than top-down communications.”
The notice-and-comment period for the proposed Title IX rules ends on Jan. 28.
Asha Prihar | email@example.com