International Women’s Day

#IWD2021 and Statement on Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order Announcement

International Women’s Day

The Office of Gender Equity invites everyone in our K community to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), which is a global acknowledgement of the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women, as well as a call to action for gender equality in all domains. Today serves as a reminder that we all share the responsibility for creating a more equitable and just campus, and collective action will drive more balance and parity not just on our campus, but in our world.

With this year’s IWD theme of ‘Choose To Challenge’ in mind, everyone is encouraged to engage with a womxn’s issue you care about, celebrate the achievements of someone in our K community, challenge a bias or stereotype you see, or use your social media platform to demonstrate your support for a cause or movement. There are myriad ways in which we can challenge the status quo and work toward equality; any action, however big or small, can make a difference.

Additionally, it is imperative to remember that an acknowledgement of the contributions of womxn (globally and on our own campus) would be incomplete without recognizing the intersections (and compounding oppressions) of marginalized identities. Womxn of color and those in the LGBTQIA2S+ community have contributed in monumental ways to the larger project of equity without the same recognition as cisgender white women; at K, we strive to build a community where these voices are not only respected, but amplified. Today, the Office of Gender Equity reaffirms this commitment and identifies this intersectionality as a priority within our gender equity work on campus.

Biden-Harris Administration Executive Orders

This morning, President Biden signed two executive orders related to gender equity. The first established a Gender Policy Council in the Executive Office of the President. This council will be tasked with domestic and international policy concerns and working to ensure the full participation of women and girls in different domains, increasing access to education, improving health outcomes, and addressing the disproportionate burden the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many women, particularly Black, Indigenous, Latina, and other women of color, to name a few.

The second executive order directed the Education Department (ED) to review all existing regulations and guidance around sex- and gender-basex harassment and discrimination for consistency with the Biden-Harris priorities and agenda. This will mean a review of the May, 2020 Title IX rule published by the ED under former secretary Betsy DeVos, and the possibility of this rule being suspended, revised, or rescinded.

The Office of Gender Equity is closely following the second executive order’s mandate and the pending ED response. As the landscape of Title IX is constantly evolving, further changes to our campus sexual harassment and assault policies will likely become necessary if the ED finds inconsistencies between the former administration’s priorities and its own.

Anyone with questions or comments related to these executive orders or IWD can contact the Director of Gender Equity and Title IX Coordinator, Lauren Rosenthal, via email at Lauren.Rosenthal@kzoo.edu or by calling 269.337.7480.

Campus Announcement Regarding Title IX Regulations

The following letter is a communication that was sent to all students, faculty, and staff on September 4, 2020 to address Kalamazoo College’s response to the regulatory changes published by the Department of Education in May, 2020.

*Note: hyperlinks have been removed for this archived message.


Dear K Community,

As the new director of gender equity and Title IX coordinator, I would like to join the many voices sharing a welcome message for new students as we prepare to begin a new academic year, one which will look different than in past years but will be no less academically challenging and rewarding. There is certainly much to know about what will be new this quarter, and I write with an update regarding what is new with respect to Title IX.

Effective August 14, Kalamazoo College has amended its Title IX-related policies and procedures to comply with federal regulations released by the U.S. Department of Education in May of this year. These regulations seek to provide strong due process protections to those who are accused of sexual misconduct while also balancing the rights of those who experience sexual harassment, assault, dating violence, domestic violence, retaliation, and/ or sex- or gender-based discrimination.

The new Title IX regulations have garnered both criticism and support; however, our goal at Kalamazoo College is to continue our tradition of providing a fair and equitable process to all members of the K community by:

• Providing clear and prompt notice to anyone accused of misconduct;
• Conducting a fair and impartial investigation;
• Delivering resolutions to complaints as promptly as possible;
• Issuing sanctions and/ or disciplinary measures for policy violations; and
• Ensuring all decisionmakers are impartial and free from bias.

The regulations leave it to Kalamazoo College to decide to be more protective than the law, and in that way, we view the regulations as setting the floor of what we must do. Here at K, we are aiming for the ceiling of best practices in as many areas as we can. Fair process is a priority, as is repairing harm and facilitating healing and safety for all members of our community irrespective of race, sex, gender identity or expression, age, ability, religion, socio-economic status, or the other qualities and identities that we value within a diverse community.

To learn more about the Policy Against Harassment, you may visit the Title IX website.

We recognize not every member of the campus community will be comfortable with the federal regulations or some aspects of our policies. We understand that and welcome your voices and input in the coming weeks and months as we strive to continually improve our collective efforts to eliminate gender-based violence and discrimination in our community, and to be responsive to all members’ concerns. Please consider attending one of the upcoming Title IX-related virtual sessions to learn more as we embark on a very unique fall quarter. The first opportunity to engage in a dialogue around these changes will be the Title IX Town Hall next Wednesday, September 9, at 4pm. I would like to invite anyone interested in attending to follow this link to the virtual live event.

Sincerely,

Lauren

Lauren Rosenthal
Director of Gender Equity | Title IX Coordinator
lauren.rosenthal@kzoo.edu
269.337.7480