• Facebook
  • Instagram

© 2023 by TAKETALK. Proudly created with Wix.com

Dear UNL

A Response to the Mishandling of Sexual Misconduct by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Title IX Office

About Dear UNL

Dear UNL,

Between March 26 and April 3, 2019, 21 survivors of sexual misconduct and their supporters wrote to Chancellor Ronnie Green to share their experiences and express their concern with UNL’s handling of Title IX complaints. On April 10, 2019, 20 of the 21 letter writers received a generic, copy & pasted email response. One received no response at all.

 

Chancellor Green’s response failed to address any individual experiences and concerns. Rather, the Chancellor chose to focus on the new changes to advocacy services on campus. Because this response did not address the failed Title IX process, the group formally requested a meeting with the Chancellor on April 15, 2019.

That same day, The Daily Nebraskan (DN) published an article regarding the Title IX Department’s numerous shortcomings featuring the stories of five survivors and their loved ones: "They're Just Trying to Keep us Quiet: A Title IX Investigation." In Chancellor Green’s response to the DN article nine days later, the Chancellor suggests this piece highlights the experience of just “five students” and parroted the same misleading talking points presented in the response he sent to the 19 survivors. We would like to address some of his statements.

 

It should be obvious that even if only five students had a traumatizing experience with the Title IX process, that would still be five students too many. However, as Chancellor Green is aware, this is a story shared by dozens of students – a significant portion of the total number of students who report sexual misconduct during an average year at UNL.

 

This issue is endemic, and UNL is actively choosing to ignore it.

 

The changes to advocacy services that Chancellor Green continuously references would have mitigated few, if any, of our complaints, and do not address the concerns we have with the Title IX process itself. Merely repeating misleading talking points without seeking survivor input only highlights the fact that our original letters were given little attention and consideration.

 

The goal of these letters to the Chancellor was to begin a process of change and healing within the UNL community. Although this group is only 21 members strong, the patterns and consistencies in their experiences suggest that they are not unique and that other UNL community members are carrying these experiences in silence. For too long, UNL has been trying to isolate and silence survivors. This group of survivors has broken the silence by coming forward and sharing their deeply personal stories. They have taken these brave steps because they believe that UNL can do better for its community and the greater communities of the city of Lincoln, the state of Nebraska, and beyond.

 

Thanks to all of your support and pressure on Chancellor Green, his Chief of Staff and Associate, Mike Zeleny, reached out to the group on Tuesday, May 1st, in order to arrange a meeting. The group met with the Chancellor at 8am on Monday, May 20th and our statement about the meeting can be found here. To make meaningful change, this group of survivors and their movement needs the support of the greater UNL community. If you believe in this cause, please email Chancellor Green at chancellorgreen@unl.edu and encourage him to listen to and believe these survivors and begin taking meaningful steps toward change at UNL.

 

#DearUNL #MeToo #UNLToo #TitleIXExcusesCrime

 
 

Chancellor Ronnie Green's Response

19 Members of Dear UNL received this identical email from the Chancellor in response to our separate grievances in relation to the UNL Title IX Office. Two others didn't receive a response until weeks later and it was the same.

Dear ________,

I want to thank you for reaching out to me about the sexual assault you experienced.  I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you to share such a deeply personal experience.  And I respect that a deep passion about the difficulty of your situation, your concerns and the desire to ensure strong support for other victims would compel you to write to me.  No one should ever experience such an act and the potential trauma that may result.  

In the summer of 2018, UNL took several steps to improve our support for victims of sexual violence.  Following best practices at other institutions of higher education, we decided to hire a full-time staff to specifically support victims.  We now have two trained, expert victim advocates.  These advocates are able to dedicate more than 80 hours per week to victim advocacy.  This is a marked improvement over the part-time support of 10 office hours per week that had previously been available.  We created a new Advocacy and Support Office, located in the University Health Center, which provides confidential contact for survivors of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, or domestic abuse.  While I regret very much the experience you reported, I am confident that the University has met its obligations under Title IX in the handling of your case. 

If you have any additional feedback you would like to provide on your experience, I have asked Pete Jeyaram, Chief Compliance Officer for the University of Nebraska system, to meet with you.  He is more than willing to do so, and I have shared a copy of your letter with him.  Please feel free to reach out to Pete at pjeyaram@nebraska.edu to set up a time to meet.  

Again, I respect how difficult it had to be for you to reach out to me and make your concerns known.  As Chancellor, there is nothing more important than ensuring the safety and support of our students.  

Respectfully, 

Ronnie D. Green

 

What and who is

Title IX?

What?

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities in federally funded schools. Title IX protects students, employees, applicants for admission and employment, and other persons from all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. All students, faculty and staff at UNL are protected by Title IX (regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, full or part-time status, disability, race or national origin) in all aspects of UNL’s educational programs and activities. All forms of sexual harassment, including but not limited to, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault are violations of Title IX and prohibited by UNL.

Specifically, Title IX states:

 

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Who?

Title IX compliance is a shared responsibility of everyone on campus, from top-level administration to individual staff members. We all have a part to play to ensure campus safety. The university has a Title IX Coordinator who is responsible for coordination of compliance and safety efforts, as well as the processing of sexual misconduct reports and complaints.

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the following duties and activities:

  • Ensuring UNL complies with Title IX and other related laws.

  • Creation and application of university policies and procedures related to Title IX

  • Coordination of implementation and administration of complaint procedures and investigations.

  • Working to create a safe learning and working campus environment.

 

UNL’s Title IX Coordinator is Tami Strickman. Ms. Strickman may be reached at:

Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance
128 Canfield Administration Building
Lincoln, NE  68588-0437
Telephone: (402) 472-3417
Email:  tami.strickman@unl.edu

This information is taken directly from UNL's Title IX informational webpage which can be found at: 

https://www.unl.edu/equity/about-title-ix#what-is-title-ix