On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, the Illinois Tech Student Government Association (SGA) held their weekly Senate meeting at 9:15 p.m. CST. Leading the session was SGA Vice President Derek Rhea. To view the recorded Facebook livestream of the event, visit https://bit.ly/3pDIod8.
Title IX presentation
The first order of business was a presentation by Assistant Vice-President of Higher Education Act (HEA) Compliance and Title IX Coordinator Virginia Foster and Deputy Title IX Coordinator Esther Espeland.
The mission of Title IX is to oversee Illinois Tech’s response to Title IX sexual harassment within the university community, as well as educating students, faculty, and staff about matters related to sexual harassment. Foster brought up the new Title IX regulations that went into effect on August 14, 2020. One major change to the system is that for the Title IX to investigate about a complaint and pursue a resolution process, one must file a Title IX Formal complaint form. Conduct that may be addressed under Title IX is much more limited now; however there are “parallel processes” at Illinois Tech (such as Human Resources, Student Affairs, etc.) to ensure that conduct that does not meet Title IX regulations gets addressed. Title IX will cover issues regarding unwanted conduct of sexual nature, stalking, dating/domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation, quid pro quo, hostile environments, or any instances where severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive behavior is taking place.
Espeland spoke about Title IX procedures. Students can anonymously report incidents regarding sexual harassment and related offenses to www.iit.edu/incidentreport. Reports can also be made via phone call (312.567.5725) or email ([email protected]). For a Formal complaint, the resolution process is centered on policy. An investigation ensues and a hearing takes place where evidence is studied and sanctions (which can go up to expulsion, suspension, or termination) are determined. For an Informal complaint, there are multiple avenues for resolution, which can be centered on restoring educational access and/or repairing harm. These complaints are resolved with official letters of apology, no-contact orders, educational programming for the respondent, and schedule changes in classes/work, and/or extracurricular participation.
More information about the Illinois Tech Title IX office and policies can be found at https://www.iit.edu/title-ix.
Student organization proposal: Art Club
Next on the agenda for the night was a student organization proposal for the Art Club, presented by Moid Ali and Joseph Trae Horne. The purpose of this organization is to provide IIT students with the opportunity for creative self-expression, access to materials, create a casual community atmosphere, allow for the ability to learn skills, explore resources and information, and foster community involvement in the city of Chicago.
The vast majority of the Art Club’s roster of interested students (submitted prior to the meeting) consisted of third-year students, which caused some Senators to express concern, since a lot of older students and a lack of younger students can lead to challenges of sustaining the club in the long run, potentially causing the organization to go inactive after everyone graduates from the school. Another concern was that the Art Club had not submitted a proposed budget as they had planned only virtual events for this semester, which they said would not cost very much; however they had mentioned that they intended to organize tours and attend events around the city of Chicago once the semester returned to in-person activities and classes in the fall. Director of Campus Life Rachel Hirsh offered to work with the Art Club to help gauge younger interest and have a more organized plan of their activities, so that they can reapply and get approval. The Senate moved to table the approval for the Art Club for the next week, so that they can re-propose with a better structured plan for the organization.
SEDS organization status
Andy de Fonseca of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) organization gave an update about the status of her student organization. The organization had been conditionally approved by SGA on the basis of them reporting their progress and activity to the Senate after a semester. SEDS was approved with 13 votes in favor, four votes against, and two abstains.
Vice President of Events Martina Dimitrova talked about the then-upcoming President-Provost Forum which took place on February 26, 2021 (see President Provost Forum Recap Spring 2021 article). Dimitrova gave a shout-out to the Events Committee for the Valentine’s Day activities they hosted recently.
Rhea mentioned that SGA executive elections were underway. Nominations close on March 3.
SGA President Alex Kern talked about the Student Advisory Council. Feedback forms are going to be sent out soon.
Director of Campus Life Rachel Hirsh spoke about the Students Speak survey which was emailed out to the student body, and encouraged everyone to fill it out.