UMass launches new Title IX website

By Stuart Foster

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The University of Massachusetts launched a new website Monday that encompasses all information related to Title IX procedures and gender respect at UMass.

The University, which is currently the subject of a federal Title IX investigation into its handling of sexual violence on campus, hopes the new website will make it easier for students to access information about gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

“Having an informed campus that understands reporting responsibilities and available campus resources is critical to creating a culture of caring and compassion in support of our academic community,” UMass Title IX Coordinator and Executive Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Débora D. Ferreira, said in an email to the UMass student body.

The front page of the website displays links and guides for students unsure of how to proceed after a sexual assault, and a resource guide for survivors of sexual violence.

There are also multiple sections that inform students about how they can report sexual assaults on campus, the campus resources available to victims of sexual assault and an explanation of a student’s Title IX rights.

“The cornerstones of our processes are fair and prompt investigations, respect for the privacy of the parties, and commitment to due process,” the website states. “It is our goal that anyone who reports an experience of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct feels safe.”

The Title IX website also lists the federal laws UMass is required to comply with as a part of Title IX.

Another section of the website explains how the identity of sexual assault victims can make reporting sexual assault more difficult in those cases, especially in cases when survivors believe, “that their experience will be used to support more stereotyping and discrimination.”

“Dealing with prejudices and ‘isms’ is difficult at all times, but it is even more challenging when trying to recover from trauma,” the Diversity and Title IX section stated.

Additionally, the new website features a link to learn more about Haven, an online course designed to inform students about consent and the role of bystanders in college communities.

Ferreia’s email and the website indicated that feedback on the site is being sought. Users can submit critiques via a feedback survey on the website or by sending an email to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster