Op-Eds Opinion

Bowman: Springfield’s next Title IX Coordinator should be BIPOC

Nicole Bowman
The Office of General Counsel sent an email to the Springfield College community on Monday, June 28, noting the Title IX Coordinator position will be vacant starting July 2, 2020 as Mary Simeoli has found another opportunity and will be departing from the institution. 
 
Shortly after receiving the email, I contacted the office to convey my thoughts and ideas that this position should be filled by a qualified candidate who identifies as a Black, Indigenous and a Person of Color (BIPOC). Elle Morgan, vice president and general counsel/secretary to the Board of Trustees, responded promptly with welcoming regard. Morgan replied that the committee is currently looking for a hire to ‘represent the diversity to which [they] aspire.’
 
I posted a petition on social media to advocate for this initiative and started sharing it amongst friends in the Springfield College community. The petition received over 130 signatures from students, faculty, staff and community members within its first 48 hours of posting. The growing endorsement of this petition strongly demonstrates that the Springfield College community supports having BIPOC representation in highly respected positions on campus.  
 
When I sent a link of the petition to the Office of General Counsel, it was met positively by Morgan.
 
Springfield College could greatly benefit from welcoming a BIPOC Title IX Coordinator as they could provide deeper cultural understanding in cases of discrimination, particularly within the scope of intersectional identities which are subject to institutional oppression. A Title IX Coordinator who identifies as a BIPOC could also make students of color feel more comfortable and supported when seeking services from the office. 
 

I am hopeful the overwhelming support of this petition will encourage the college to hire more BIPOC faculty and staff in the future.

 

July 10 update:

“I wanted to share with you all an update on the college’s response to this petition. I had a wonderful meeting this afternoon with Vice President and General Counsel, Elle Morgan. Ms. Morgan told me about her experiences as a Title IX Coordinator/Associate Dean for Gender Equity at her previous institution and praised members of the Springfield College community for supporting the initiatives to recruit, hire, and admit members of the BIPOC community across campus. During our conversation, she invited me to be on the hiring committee as the college seeks to appoint a qualified candidate.

Among this committee are representatives from the President’s Leadership Team, Inclusion and Community Engagement, Athletics, Student Affairs, and Public Safety, as well as students. Candidates will also meet with the Dean of Students, Director of Human Resources, and the President’s Chief of Staff.  Ms. Morgan stated that there are three critical attributes the committee is looking for in a candidate: 1) a demonstrated ability to understand and implement legal regulations 2) superb emotional intelligence, and 3) strong interpersonal skills and ability to work well with others.

I will be provided more details next week of how this process will be conducted. In the meantime, I would love to hear what the Springfield College community is hoping for in a Director of Non-Discrimination Initiatives. Please feel free to email me at nbowman2@springfieldcollege.edu with your thoughts and ideas. It is of upmost importance to me to be a voice for our community and advocate for BIPOC representation in our esteemed college’s positions.“

(Sign the petition here)

Featured photo: (Jack Margaros/The Student)

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