CHAPEL HILL - The first of three candidates up for the position of Title IX Coordinator, Crystal Coombes, says one of her main focuses if she gets the position will to be to make sure reviews of current University police remain an ongoing process.
“I believe, strongly, that the task force that was reviewed and put together should remain in place” Coombes stated.
Those comments were made during a forum for the public to attend which the other two candidates will hold as well.
UNC created the new Title IX Coordinator position in April. Currently the interim Title IX Coordinator, Christi Hurt, has been working with a task force to change university policies on sexual assault.
Coombes focused on how we can improve the services and education provided to students about Title IX issues. She says she thinks making resources available online will help students to easily reach out for services and education.
“Readily accessible information on the web and in alternative formats,” Coombes said “a student should be able to click onto the UNC site and click a button and be into something that says if this has happened to you x,y,z.”
Coombes says that many people after an incident will not seek out the help because they feel different. She incorporates this concept into her universal design for Title IX and says that she thinks applying universal design to Title IX will remove the need to talk about who is different and allow for more people to openly reach out for services.
“Now the interesting thing about universal design is it removes the need for accommodation, I propose universal design in how we apply Title IX so we remove the need for anybody to talk about who’s different and what has happened” Coombes said.
Coombes also says she would like to make a one stop phone service that could provide students with all the information and resources they need while keeping the concept of universal design.
“Something has just happened to me and there is a 1-800 number and I call it, and it triggers every single thing that is suppose to happen at this university;” Coombes said “It triggers a pure advocate being assigned, it triggers any kind of emergency response, it triggers some sort of assistance, it triggers all of those things and it’s one call and one stop.”
Coombes says she wants to make the availability of resources and information easier for both students and faculty. Training would be available for people of the community so that they would know how to help people going through a situation, not just students and teachers. She says she believes the community should be connected when dealing with Title IX matters so that people are not isolated, but can instead have many places to go for help.
The two other candidate forums are with Howard Kallem on Friday and Jayne Grandes next Wednesday.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/title-ix-candidate-crystal-coombes-propses-modern-title-ix-assistance/
Pictured: Christy Lambden
CHAPEL HILL – UNC’s recently assembled Title IX task force, charged with re-designing the University’s sexual assault policy, met Wednesday for the group’s third meeting so far.
Student Body President Christy Lambden is a member of the group that is dealing with sensitive, and at times, uncomfortable issues. He says they are making headway, though.
“We’re really starting to delve into what we want the policy to look like in the future,” Lambden said.
Lambden is serving along side 21 others from the UNC community, including LGBTQ Director Terri Phoenix, Deputy Chief of the Department of Public Safety, George Hare, and Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, Allen O’Barr.
Christi Hurt, UNC’s new Interim Title IX Coordinator, is the chair of the task force; she’s currently on leave as director of the Carolina Women’s Center.
“It’s a great group to be working with. It’s a diverse group with diverse opinions—but I think that’s exactly what this process needs,” Lambden said.
Gina Smith, a former prosecutor whom Chancellor Holden Thorp recruited in January, is also working with the task force. She’s helping the University sort through the sexual misconduct investigations.
The necessity to review the University’s policies came about after students and faculty members filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights this year. They claimed that the University underreported sexual assault cases, which sparked a federal investigation into the accusations. The task force will follow guidance from the Office for Civil Rights and build on the recommendations of Smith.
The task force meets weekly throughout the summer. Hurt says there’s no defined timeline for when the process will conclude, but she hopes the group can have the new policy in place by the start of the fall semester.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/sexual-assault-policy-task-force-update/