Baylor’s Title IX office has made a number of very public mistakes over the course of the past year. Its history of deficiency has been laid out for examination on a public stage, and it has been taken to task not only by students, but also by its own former staff.
The organization, which had previously enjoyed relative anonymity, was thrust into an uncomfortable spotlight, but instead of withdrawing into the shadows, Baylor has used the attention as impetus to reform the Baylor’s Title IX office, policies and outreach. Most recently, the office has worked to reach out to students through issuing an online Title IX course to inform students about “healthy relationships, types of abuse and red flags for abusive relationships, consent, bystander intervention and the role of Title IX,” according to an email from the Title IX office.
At long last, Baylor Title IX is taking the appropriate steps. It now falls to us, the student body, to support its progress.
Students: Be active in the programs the Title IX office puts forth. The online course released through Canvas in November is being grandfathered in as a registration requirement, meaning that the only group required to complete it this year in order to register for summer or fall 2017 courses are this year’s freshmen. Whether or not it is required for you specifically, this course is available to each of us through our Canvas accounts, and we should take advantage of it.
The course, which takes approximately an hour to complete, is a series of online, interactive pages that attempt to not only introduce students to issues of relationship and consent, but also help them better understand the purpose and abilities of Baylor’s Title IX office. While much of the material covered in the course may seem like common sense, in times of crisis, a return to the basics is often the best course of action. Title IX is making an effort to reach us, the student body, where we are. Students have the power to instigate change on this campus, and by engaging with us, Title IX appears to be sincerely invested in doing its part to encourage change. In doing so, they’ve passed us the baton, given us the tools to reform not only our university’s national perception, but also our campus culture.
This is our campus. This past year has shown that, like each of us, Baylor is flawed, but it is our university, and it is up to us to shape it into the university we desire — the university in which we still have pride. Title IX has reached out a hand to students, offering us education and knowledge. Don’t brush it off. Don’t overlook Title IX’s efforts as just one more cumbersome effect of Baylor’s Big Mess. Baylor begins here, with us. Title IX has taken the first step — let’s use it as a building block on which to reshape our university.