The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

A call for in-person empathy

The impact of remote Title IX interactions on survivor well-being
Tripp Menhall

Did you know that under Title IX, you are not entitled to face-to-face interactions when meeting with a university coordinator? In other words, the Quinnipiac University Office of Title IX is not required to meet with you in person, even if that is what you want or need.

When I found out that Quinnipiac’s interim Title IX coordinator is fully remote, I was distressed. Even worse, it was not common knowledge among students and professors that I spoke to. I couldn’t help but think about the survivors that felt uncomfortable and awkward meeting with the office on Zoom and did not pursue further proceedings as a result.

In accordance with Title IX regulations, every school that receives federal funds must designate at least one employee who is responsible for coordinating the school’s compliance with Title IX.

Quinnipiac has policies that prohibit discrimination and misconduct on the basis of gender, including sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking and any other gender-based harassment or misconduct.

However, as long as that employee upholds the school’s compliance with federal law, it does not matter if the procedures are trauma-informed or not — whereas in-person procedures would be.

The purpose of trauma-informed care — a framework that assumes individuals are highly impacted by a history of trauma — is not to treat symptoms or issues related to abuse or any other form of trauma, but rather to provide easily accessible support services to those who have experienced trauma, according to the Buffalo Center for Social Research.

This is important because when systems meant to support students — such as Title IX, Student Affairs, CARE, Residential Life and Public Safety — do not have procedures that are trauma-informed, this increases the possibility of triggering or exacerbating trauma symptoms or retraumatizing an individual.

Any situation or environment that resembles a trauma — literally or symbolically — has the potential to trigger difficult feelings and reactions associated with the original trauma, which is known as retraumatization.

Title IX protections were significantly altered in 2020 under former President Donald Trump’s administration — such as the redefinition of sexual harassment to a narrow range of actions that are “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive.”

The issue with that is that practically no sexual harassment is considered objectively offensive, according to the Title IX terms.

Under President Joe Biden’s administration, these Title IX protections have not been reinstated. This leaves students vulnerable and creates barriers that keep survivors from coming forward.

Remote meetings are a significant barrier because they could disempower victims. What would happen if someone’s trauma stemmed from online sexual exploitation, such as receiving threatening messages or having nude photos spread online? Strictly virtual proceedings could deter victims altogether, preventing them from getting the support they need.

Universities must enact trauma-informed initiatives and show up for victims in person.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Tripp Menhall
Tripp Menhall, Creative Director

Comments (0)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *