The following memo was sent to Title IX Coordinators and Staff at the Graduate Center CUNY on October 3, 2018. If you are a student at the Graduate Center and are not aware of CUNY’s policy on sexual misconduct, more information is available here:

This memo is to inform you of student concerns regarding the process of reporting harassment, which have come to the attention of Steering Committee members of the Doctoral and Graduate Students’ Council (DSC).

First, there seems to be little awareness of the existence of Title IX presence on campus among the general student population, which hinders the ability of victims of sexual harassment to seek help and/or delays the process. We think the Title IX team could benefit from more campus visibility. While we commend the intentions behind the recent memorandum dated September 12 from the President’s Office reaffirming a commitment to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity and inclusion, recent events have shaken the trust of at least several students in the sincerity of the message as it impacts students.

Another point of confusion is that students lack a clear idea of the procedure to go through to report harassment, as well as the exact resources available to them. Once they have started the process of reporting a case of harassment, students have also experienced frustration with a general lack of clarity regarding the direction and timeline of measures taken by the Title IX team. Such lack of certainty may perpetuate a sense of chaos and lack of control by an individual who has reported.

Lastly, we understand that cases of students reporting harassment seem to automatically get assigned to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Matthew Schoengood, on the basis that they are students and not employees. This is concerning because, Edith Rivera being identified as the Graduate Center’s official “Title IX Coordinator,” such a procedure may be confusing for students expecting to talk to a woman.

Given that the DSC has gathered information that could be valuable to Title IX Coordinators, we would like the opportunity to meet with you all to discuss these concerns and explore paths to improve the visibility and clarity of Title IX resources for students.

Sent on behalf of the Doctoral and Graduate Students’ Council Steering Committee