By Aileen Lawrence
On Nov. 18, 2022, CI students came together to protest for Title IX reform.
The CI View met with the two student leaders of the Title IX protest and the Students for Quality Education (SQE) club on campus, Angelmarie Taylor, fifth year business major and Courtland Briggs, fifth year political science major to discuss the outcome of the protest. Demands for more support in our Title IX office are still being negotiated. Taylor and Briggs have reached out to Dr. Richard Yao, President of Student Affairs, to discuss these demands but were directed to Cindy Derrico, Dean of Students and William Nutt, former director of Title IX.
In result of SQE’s proactive students as well as the Title IX protest, there have been strides towards a more effective title IX. Originally, only three staff positions were available in the office, but due to the protest’s effectiveness, CI was able to implement one more position. Now we have four total jobs open in our Title IX office. Though due to the director’s recent resignation, William Nutt, there are only two employees in the office as of now.
“That was a huge win for us,” Taylor said, “As a result of our campaign, the jobs exist now. It is just a matter of filling them.”
After finding that former CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro had knowingly mishandled years of sexual harassment claims against a Frank Lamas, former Vice President of Student Affairs at Fresno State University whom Castro has worked with while President of CSU Fresno, senate bill 808 was put into creation. It was found that Castro even endorsed the accused, Lamas, for a lifetime achievement award – which Lamas won. Instead of firing Lamas, Castro approved a $260,000 dollar payment from the school to Lamas as well as a clean record and letter of recommendation in exchange for his retirement from Fresno State.
During the Title IX protests, the bill was under construction. Senate bill 808 was passed Feb. 17th, 2023. This bill removed any retreat rights on upper management statewide if they attempt to resign with benefits due to sexual harassment or violation of any CSU Title IX sexual harassment policy.
These protests brought more attention to how Title IX is applied in schools statewide. So much so that the CSU Board of Trustees proceeded to hire a law firm in order investigate the workings of Title IX on every single campus. This summer, the findings of the investigation were released as well as suggestions on how the CSU system can improve their Title IX offices. You can find the full report on the CSU Board of Trustees website.
“Where we stand now is really just making sure those suggestions are taken seriously and actually applied,” exclaimed Briggs.
The new data on Title IX as well as Senate bill 808 is not the only win for the students to come out of the Title IX protests and it certainly is not the last either.