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WKU to require Title IX training for all faculty and staff

New federal standard requires annual sessions, Title IX officer says.
Cameron Shaw
Members of the faculty senate met on Thursday in Downing Student Union.

All WKU faculty and staff members will be required to complete Title IX policy training every year under new mandates from the federal government, WKU’s Title IX coordinator told the faculty senate on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Education released Title IX policy changes on April 19, which will take effect on Aug. 1, Ena Demir, who heads the Office of Institutional Equity, said in an email to faculty on May 9.

“All WKU employees must now complete Title IX training upon hire and annually thereafter,” Demir said. “The new regulations do not carve out any exceptions or exemptions to this mandate.”

The mandatory training is for both full-time and part-time faculty, Demir added.

To comply with the federal mandate, Demir’s office is currently reviewing the new regulations to ensure WKU’s policies and procedures reflect the new training mandates.

“We’re working with Catharsis online vendor to put out new training that everybody will be able to take starting, probably not Aug. 1, but early August,” Demir said.

Matthew Pruitt, professor of sociology and criminology and faculty senate member, raised questions regarding whether students would also receive training.

“Is there some training in place for students?” Pruitt asked. “If not, why? Is it a budgetary issue or a practicality issue?”

Student training is not mandatory, Demir said, and it will not be mandatory with these new regulations.

“What would be the reason for not mandating it for all students?” Pruitt asked.

“I think it’s just about enforcing that training for students,” Demir responded. “I think we’re trying to reach more and more students each year. One of the new groups that we are trying to mandate the training for, which I think is in the works and will probably happen this summer, is for incoming freshmen who live in the residence halls.

“I think it’s hard to do this all at once. I think sometimes it takes a piecemeal approach so that people understand the importance of this, even though this is a federal mandate right now for employees.”

This training makes a difference on campus, Demir added.

Other than the required employee training, the new regulations, as stated in the Department of Education’s final rule overview, include:

  • Implementing a process for the case’s decision maker to assess a party’s or witness’s credibility when it is in dispute and relevant.
  • A school’s grievance procedures must give proper notice to any party involved in allegations and case updates.
  • Schools must give all parties involved equal opportunities to present relevant evidence and to be able to respond to evidence.

News reporter Cameron Shaw can be reached at [email protected]

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