CPC: College releases a list of 36 Title IX harassment complaints

CPC: College releases a list of 36 Title IX harassment complaints

David Fletcher, Staff Writer

Following months of City College Title IX complaints being dealt with inadequately, the College Planning Council Tuesday discussed hiring new positions to take over the responsibility of handling the complaints.

The group expanded upon several jobs that needed to be filled. Most of the positions discussed were ones that had been previously occupied. However, the retention of a Title IX official, a new position, was considered to be paramount and was brought to the forefront of the conversation.

“I believe this is the moment, this is the time, this is the place that we draw a line in the sand,” Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe said. “We need to have a full time Title IX Officer.”

A list of 36 Title IX complaints was referenced at the meeting, all of which occurred within the past year. Additionally, 12 more were filed within the past two weeks.

The allegations included claims of sexual misconduct, stalking, and sexual harassment, with 29 percent filed by faculty and 69 percent by students. This stark difference in the student to faculty ratio is likely because there are so many more students than faculty.

Beebe, who had already addressed this issue in an “open letter of apology” on Sept. 12, also illustrated the ineffective nature of the current system for handling Title IX complaints.

He emphasized the tremendous amount of work required to deal with each of these individual complaints and the way school officials have previously passed around ownership of this responsibility like a “game of hot potato.”

Beebe added that if City College doesn’t have an adequate process in place that is readily accessible to people who want to come forward with their concerns, these people and their stories will be relegated to the shadows. A sufficient system in place will act as a “self fulfilling prophecy” where a multitude of concerns will be illuminated.

These kinds of controversies are not a new phenomenon at City College. Kathy O’Connor, physical education department chair, said her troubles with these issues have perpetuated over the course of approximately 40 years. While the scope and nature of these transgressions have continued, the times have changed, she said.

O’Connor added that the unified front witnessed in the meeting by members of the administration speaks to a new found social awareness that will lend itself to substantial changes in the way Title IX offenses are handled at the college.

While Beebe’s recognized the inherent negativity that such procedures might entail, he is confident that with a professional at the helm, the end result will be positive.