Op-ed: ReNUal campaign clarifies Title IX position

Op-ed: ReNUal campaign clarifies Title IX position

When Jake Grondin and I decided to run for Northeastern’s student body president and vice president, our mission was to make our home a better place, because that’s what Northeastern is—our home. This will always be our mission.

We have put a lot of thought into developing our ReNUal platform. We want to make the Student Government Association (SGA) active and effective. We want to highlight changes that would directly impact students in their day-to-day lives. We want to emphasize the significance of bigger changes—important changes—like reforming University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) and advocating for equality across the colleges.

But the core of our platform is the fact that we are not just limited to the issues we highlight. We will always advocate on behalf of the students and strive to make all students feel valued. In order to do this, we will join with students to push for reforms.

We wanted to write today in order to be clear about our stance on Title IX and the university climate regarding sexual assault and other Title IX violations, and we want to convey our personal dedication to this matter.

Jake and I could never fully understand the struggles that survivors of Title IX violations face. Rather, we continually strive to further educate ourselves on the topic. In the fall, I worked with the ViSION Resource Center to co-sponsor the “Speak About It” event—a performance on consent, boundaries and healthy relationships—in an attempt to educate myself and spread awareness on the issues that survivors face. After “Speak About It,” I led discussions on this topic in SGA, the Resident Student Association (RSA) and my residence hall. Jake co-authored legislation to reform all-gender housing after hearing from students who didn’t feel comfortable living in single-gender housing due to past Title IX violations. We are committed to learning, growing and bettering ourselves. This sensitive issue is incredibly important to both of us.

We do not believe that students should review cases of sexual assault and other Title IX violations involving other students. We do believe that treatment in these cases should be more survivor-centric. Jake and I will work to remove students from the Student Conduct Board for Title IX cases and improve the care that Northeastern provides to survivors of all Title IX violations. Next year, we hope to work alongside students who have been advocating for these changes for years.

If there is one thing we all know to be true, it’s that whoever gets elected will work tirelessly to serve our dynamic and passionate student body. I can promise that Jake and I will always have our doors open to new ideas and other viewpoints, and I encourage anyone who feels strongly about students’ rights to allow us to start a dialogue so we can work together. I want to reiterate our support for survivors of all Title IX violations and assure our commitment to amplifying the voices of those we hope to serve.

Thank you all so much for making this the most engaging SGA election Northeastern has ever seen. We are so proud to see such an active student body, and we could not be more excited to push for reforms together. Jake and I look forward to listening, growing and working to make all students feel valued. I have never been more honored to work with such a wonderful campaign team to spread our positive vision for Northeastern. We are excited to finish off this election season strong, and we look forward to working with the student body that we love.

– Alex Bender is a sophomore industrial engineering major and candidate for student body president. Voting on myNEU closes on Monday.

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