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Springfield College Title IX Coordinator Mary Simeoli explains decision with “Every Voice Coalition” bills

Prior to the testimony of Springfield College students at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, members of SAVE approached Springfield College, asking for the college to sign in support of the bills. The College elected not to sign, and the decision is explained below by Title IX Coordinator, Mary Simeoli:

“Springfield College is not in anyway working in opposition to the two bills in front of the Massachusetts State Legislature. And while the College wouldn’t “sign” something like this independently, it has, relative to its AICUM membership, commented on the bill as a part of a collective body.

The College, is a part of an association called AICUM (Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts) and works directly with this association to communicate questions, concerns, endorsements, and proposed additions to all bills related to higher education in front of our state as federal government, including the two you’re referring to as well as the proposed changes to the Federal Title IX regulations. AICUM is comprised of 60 private colleges and universities in Massachusetts ranging from the Boston schools such has Harvard, Tufts and MIT to the schools out here in the western part of the state – such as Springfield, Baypath, Western New England, Smith and Mount Holyoke.

So, while the College wouldn’t “sign” the bill, it’s been an active member of the AICUM which, as a smaller institution, helps to amplify our voice.

One of my concerns, for example, is that the committee created by HB1208 only includes students, faculty, and staff from public institutions like the UMASS system, without reserving proportionate seating for private school representatives even though private institutions in the state would be subject to bill. That means students at schools like Springfield would not proverbially or literally, have a seat at the table.

Alternatively, while SC already exceeds compliance as a trauma-informed practitioner, a substantial portion of the proposed HB1209/S764, it’s important that all Massachusetts students receive this kind of institutional response and I support the State’s efforts to mandate this type of training.

This is the type of feedback and commentary on the bills the AICUM helps us communicate.

Discussion of the legislation in question was included in the Office of Title IX’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month Kick-off where we helped connected students to their local legislature (if they were Massachusetts residence) and provided them the bills to read and review, as well as the opportunity to discuss how these laws would or would not impact the College. I am always happy to have these discussions and to support students by answering any questions they have.”

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