Title IX officer fights discrimination while advocating for inclusivitycsudhbulletin March 22, 2017 0 COMMENTS
By Julissa James
Photo Credit Zak Hailey
Late last year, Elizabeth Schrock was hired as Cal State Dominguez Hills’ Title IX officer.
In her position, Schrock helps to uphold the 1972 federal law that prohibits discrimination, violence or harassment based on sex or gender in public education institutions.
This includes overseeing ongoing Title IX investigations and working with the university to provide resources for victims of sexual assault, dating, domestic violence and stalking on campus.
Schrock agreed to participate in a question-and-answer session with The Bulletin. Her answers have been edited for space.
Q: Some students are unsure of what Title IX is. Are there any clarifications you want to make?
A: One of the most common responses when I ask students what they know about Title IX is that it has something to do with gender equity in athletics. It encompasses that, but it’s so much broader. Basically, it includes students of all gender identities, including women, men, transgender and other non-binary individuals and (making sure they) have equal access to educational opportunities, which includes creating prevention programs aiming to stop incidents from occurring, as well as making sure to appropriately respond to the incidents that do happen.
Q: What is your personal connection to sex/gender based issues (if any)?
A: Like many of us, I’ve had close friends, family members and colleagues who have had difficult experiences within the systems that they’ve needed in a crisis, such as university administrative processes, judicial or criminal justice processes and healthcare systems. I know how complex these systems are, oftentimes making them confusing to navigate, especially after something traumatic or upsetting. Hearing about these negative experiences pushes me to want to improve the systems I work within, and ensure that when the folks that I’m serving – the CSUDH community – have a better understanding of how to access the resources and systems here to support them.
Q: Although Title IX covers gender/sex discrimination as a whole, are there specific issues you focus on more than others at CSUDH?
A: I think that the best way to address the needs of the CSUDH community is to make sure that I have data that informs what those needs are so that I can focus on and address them. Related to gender and sex-based discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of other identities, such as racial identity or sexual orientation, it’s imperative to understand the current climate, and once we have data, it will drive my focus.
Q: I understand there could be some Title IX cases that are more sensitive than others. How are you equipped to deal with these situations?
A: Yes, discrimination, harassment and violence evoke strong feelings for most folks. I understand those feelings and hope that I address the issues in manner that is empathetic, fair and balanced.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a Title IX Officer?
A: I’m passionate about ensuring that marginalized and underrepresented communities, such as transgender individuals and other LGBTQ folks, women, people of color and undocumented individuals, have a voice. I believe that there are ways to institutionalize inclusive practices, and my job affords me the ability to work with others that do similar work and value inclusivity and equity, as I do. Doing that work is incredibly rewarding and helps me stay positive when challenging incidents and issues occur, such as dealing with new case law and governmental priorities as they relate to equity.
Q: What kind of campus climate are you working to create when it comes to sex/gender-based issues?
A: I hope that my work builds on the work of already-dedicated students, faculty and staff to engender a climate of inclusivity and equity at CSUDH.
Q: What kind of programs are in the works for CSUDH regarding Title IX?
A: We currently have a Title IX website with information and resources, but I’m working with CSUDH’s sexual assault victims’ advocate, Jacqueline Urtez, to create two new websites that will take its place. One will focus on gender equity and inclusion, and one will focus on victim advocacy. Stay tuned for those sites this summer. I am also hoping to bring together an interdisciplinary Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) to discuss issues related to Title IX each month.
In April, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I’m collaborating with a number of wonderful folks on campus to host or participate in a range of events. Come see me every week in the Women’s Center on Thursdays at 3 p.m., in the Multicultural Affairs Office on Wednesdays at 2 p.m., at the Rape Culture Presentation (April 6) Unity Fest (April 13), Denim Day (April 26) and the Bystander Intervention Workshop (April 27).
In addition, the victims’ advocate and I will be hosting a three-part series in the LSU titled, “It’s On Us,” and explain how to respond (April 4), support survivors (April 13) and prevent (April 18) sexual assault. For more information on these awesome events, look them up on Torolink.
Contact information: If students have any questions or would like more information on reporting and response, please look up “Title IX” on the CSUDH homepage or contact Elizabeth Schrock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-243-3492.