Diving Into Wellness

A recurring column exploring various statistics related to sexual wellness, mental health, and substance use at Colorado College, brought to you in collaboration with the Wellness Resource Center.

 

Jan. 28

This is the last day of the formal notice and comment period for the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed Title IX regulations. Reminder: These are the guidelines that would fundamentally change the responsibility of schools to respond to sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence.

Despite Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s euphemistic statements that suggest efforts to “balance the scales of justice,” the proposed Title IX regulations exacerbate victim-shaming, regardless of gender. Men and boys are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault than to be falsely accused. Nearly one in 18 men are sexually assaulted in college. 

 Because the proposal is only a draft rule, there is a 60-day period during which the public is encouraged to voice opinions through written comments. If constructed effectively, these comments will be read and will necessitate response from agency policy makers.

A “substantive” comment identifies credentials of the author, clearly communicates claims through information and original arguments, and provides alternatives to proposed regulations. Hundreds of submissions that simply read, “I support Title IX” will likely be overlooked. While this may appear intimidating, there are many resources available to aid in this process. 

As a student, or individual otherwise affiliated with the college, your place on Colorado College’s campus positions you within the jurisdiction of Title IX and under direct impact of the proposed guidelines. This identity is all the credential you need. However, if you are a survivor, say so. If you work to combat gender violence or discrimination, say so. If you have witnessed incidents of assault, say so. 

 Your experience in this community, whether lived or observed, can provide the arguments needed to combat DeVos’s changes. The information to substantiate your claims can be found by visiting sites such as the National Women’s Law Center or Know Your IX. Listing alternatives can simply entail providing reasons as to why we ought to maintain current Title IX standards, those which avoid suppressing the voices of victims. 

If you don’t feel comfortable writing your own comment, join student groups already dedicated to promoting healthy sexual engagement on this campus. Both SOSS, Student Organization for Sexual Safety, and START, Student Title IX Assistance and Resource Team, are already at work constructing a comment.

To get more involved with these issues, consider attending SOSS weekly open meetings. For more information on the open comment period specifically, contact Montana Bass in the Wellness Resource Center at mbass@coloradocollege.edu. 

Whether written individually or within the context of a student club, team, or organization, each comment deemed “substantive,” will be considered in the decision process and could ultimately affect the enactment of federal regulation.  

Susanna Penfield

Susanna Penfield

Susanna Penfield, class of 2020, writes the weekly column “Diving Into Wellness” in collaboration with the Wellness Resource Center. She is a Political Science Major and Feminist and Gender Studies Minor, co-chair of Student Title IX Assistance and Resource Team (START), editor for the Leviathan - CC’s journal for art, poetry, and prose - and member of the Cutthroat Rugby Team. In addition to the Catalyst, Susanna has been published in Cipher and the Leviathan, and her personal essays have been featured in both Colorado’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction and the America’s Emerging Writers Series.
Susanna Penfield

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