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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Dr. Melissa Moreno to oversee sex- and gender-based issues

Michaela Wahlstroem
Melissa Moreno on Friday, April 7, outside the Fé Bland Forum on West Campus at City College. Moreno will be replacing Ben Partee as Title IX Administrator at City College. She will be the contact person regarding student complaints related to Title IX.

Students confiding to their teachers and counselors that they were sexually assaulted should know those college professionals are legally required to report the incident to a designated administrator.

On March 16, it was announced that Dr. Melissa Moreno will become the new Title IX Coordinator at City College. Moreno is replacing Dr. Ben Partee, who will be retiring on June 30, through the Supplemental Early Retirement Program.

“Melissa will be phenomenal for the positions for two reasons: one being that she is intelligent, and the second being her background in legal affairs,” Partee said.

The Title IX Coordinator oversees sex- and gender-based issues perpetrated on City College students. Among other things, Moreno is working with faculty so they can learn the legal “reporting” requirements under federal law.

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The law requires that all faculty, managers and supervisors, campus security officers and classified workers to report to the Title IX Coordinator any sex- or gender-based conflict they hear affect a student. These requirements apply whether the incident occurred at City College, off campus grounds or even on the internet.

All student employees must follow these guidelines as well.

Incidents that are required to be reported include, but are not limited to: sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence, bullying based on gender expression, and nonconsensual sexual acts.

Campus employees are obligated to report sexual conflict even if the information was discovered through third-parties, personal observations, or gossip. The responsibility for employees to report a situation also has nothing to do with whether or not action has already been taken on it.

“Ignorance is not bliss,” Moreno wrote in a slideshow made available to the public.

According to Partee, there have been several reports of sexual assault made to him during his years as Title IX Coordinator. Moreno said she would take immediate action to protect anyone who files a report to her.

Title IX is part of the United States Education Amendments of 1972. It applies to every educational institution that receives federal funding.

In recent years, the law has expanded to protect transgender students from the same discrimination.

Moreno says she trusts that our President Dr. Beebe will lead our campus towards a solution on the recent gender neutral bathroom issue, but believes that “inclusion goes beyond bathrooms.”

“I believe if we protect and defend our most vulnerable and most marginalized groups on campus, then, and only then, can we stand tall and embrace an inclusive culture,” she said in an email with The Channels.

Moreno says she is passionate about protecting students from sexual assault. She wants to make herself known and accessible to students.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I urge all of us to work together to prevent sexual assault and rape. SBCC is a zero tolerance campus, and we must work together to educate and prevent assault,” Moreno said.

Moreno has worked for City College since 2007. She is currently the dean of business, professional development studies, and dual enrollment and will retain her duties as dean of these educational programs. She also attended Pepperdine Law School and is an active licensed attorney, which she said enhances her qualifications for her new assignment.

If City College students want to get in touch with Dr. Moreno, she can be reached by telephone at (805) 683-8284, or by email at [email protected].

Jefferson Beckham contributed to this story

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