ASUSF Senate resolutions call for Title IX reform, increased transparency surrounding student representative selection process

Caitlin Ryan

Contributing Writer

ASUSF Senate voted to pass two resolutions on Wednesday night. GRAPHIC BY NATALIE MORRIS / GRAPHICS CENTER

The ASUSF Senate unanimously passed two new resolutions during its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4. Vice President for Institutional Advancement Myra Cruz, along with Senators Becca Munoz and Lovepreet Dhinsa, worked diligently on a Title IX resolution that will increase student involvement in the University’s sexual misconduct training program. Meanwhile, Senate President John Iosefo worked alongside President Paul Fitzgerald and Vice President of Student Life Julie Orio to propose a resolution that increases transparency surrounding student nominations to the Board of Trustees. With these pieces of legislation, Senate has now passed six resolutions this semester. 

Resolution 20-21-05 proposed that the Title IX office adopts the Senate’s suggested sexual misconduct prevention and education committee bylaws to create a campus that promotes respect, equity, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality.  

Senate is also pushing for the transformation of the pre-existing Title IX Task Force into the Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Education Committee, effective this spring. Title IX Coordinator Jess Varga said, “Formalizing this committee with the assistance of ASUSF will allow for a continued commitment to raising awareness, providing resources, and educating our community on issues related to sexual misconduct.”

The new committee would be instituted once the Title IX Office has hired a new Deputy Title IX Coordinator to serve as its chair. Following disappointing revelations about how sexual assault allegations have been handled by USF in the past, Iosefo said, “Because Title IX itself is heavily regulated by the state and federal governments, the Senate believes that a committee made up primarily of students will enable student voices to be heard when the University is crafting their sexual misconduct training and workshops.” 

Speaking about the other resolution being enacted, Iosefo said, “The Board of Trustees Process Resolution is one that is long overdue. Previous presidents have had their struggles with navigating the nomination process for student representatives to the Board, including me, so I decided that it was time to codify the process so that there were no more ambiguities.” Increased transparency from the University is a familiar rallying call from USF community members hoping for a better understanding of the administration’s decision-making processes.

Orio, who is listed as a supporter of the resolution, said, “The resolution is beneficial as we continue to model ways that students, staff, and faculty work together to fulfill the mission of the university. It is great that students have opportunities to be on Trustee committees at USF. The senate, working with many administrators, outlined a clear process for student participation on trustee committees.” 

The new process will publicize available committee positions for the next academic year, as well as the majors and minors required for potential nominations. After thorough interviews, the ASUSF Senate will present the Board of Trustees with their final list of nominees. In turn, the Board of Trustees will submit their decision. According to the resolution, the “ability of the ASUSF Senate and the students of the University to name their representatives to the Board of Trustees shall not be denied without a reasonable and detailed explanation by the Board” to ensure fair committee appointments. 

In addition to increased transparency, Resolution 20-21-06 also includes new procedures to help representatives get acclimated to their role. The resolution states that “student representatives to the Board of Trustees will be given an orientation at least two weeks before their first committee meeting to better understand the workings of the Board” and that “the Board of Trustees will designate certain committee trustees to serve as mentors for student representatives.”

Iosefo said that both resolutions are a “win for the student body” and include students in conversations that aim to better the USF community.

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