ISS takes oppositional stance to new Title IX recommendation

By Charlotte Collins

Student governments across the Big 10 are fighting the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights proposal to bar students from participating as adjudicators in Title IX discipline hearings related to sexual assault.

Title IX, a federal civil right, prohibits sexual discrimination in education and addresses acts of sexual violence.

The University’s current policy allows for student participation and according to Vice President-Internal Sarah Hochman, that is how it should remain.

“It’s important that we continue our commitment to shared governance at the University,” Hochman said. “Having students in these panels listening to these cases offers a unique perspective, the training is thorough; I’ve been through it.”

After the Department of Education’s proposal was made in 2014, the Association of Big 10 Students met in January and agreed to use this issue as a focus for the upcoming Big 10 On The Hill lobbying event in Washington D.C.

At its Wednesday meeting, the Illinois Student Senate will look at a resolution for information in opposition of the proposal.

Students that participate in conduct hearings receive mandatory training, similar to faculty members, in confidentiality, procedures and other processes, according to the resolution. Additionally, it states students provide peer perspectives in conduct hearings, which administrators and faculty may lack.

Matt Hill, vice president-external, said he believes the training and application process students go through should be valid enough reason for them to sit in on panels regarding their peers if the victim chooses to go through University processes.

The Illinois Student Senate has been focused on bringing attention to sexual assault on campus this year and has been heavily involved with the “It’s On Us” national campaign to raise awareness for a community responsibility regarding sexual assault.

If passed this Wednesday for information, the resolution will be up for debate at its following meeting on Feb. 18.

Charlotte can be reached at [email protected]

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Matt Hill serves as vice president-internal. The article should have stated Hill serves as vice president-external. The Daily Illini regrets the error.