UVU’s Title IX office wants students to know they’re here to help

A Title IX information session was organized in order for students to better understand how the office functions and how it can help students on UVU’s campus, Apr. 11 in the Sorensen Student Center.

Ashley Larsen, the Associate Dean of Students, and two Title IX office representatives organized the event.

Though ran almost smoothly, there was an issue the event ran into: a low student reception, with only two students showing up.

A communication major and one of Title IX’s student interns, Jarika James, explained her feelings about the importance of the department.

“I love being able to help students and teach students new things as well,” James said. “It’s really a great thing to put efforts toward because it’s helping a wide number of people.”

Robin Maras, a full-time Title IX investigator, mentioned how some students might not trust the Title IX office because of past rumors and scandals.

She had hopes that the information given at the event would not only help to inform students of the rights and resources available to students to help them deal with difficult situations, such as assault and sexual harassment but also that their office really is here to help.

“People don’t feel like they’re going to the doctor or they’re going to the dentist,” Maras said. “When people come in, I want to sit down. I want to hear what they have to say. I want to talk with them. I want to do whatever we can to help. And that’s on both sides of the coin, not just the complainants, but the respondents too.”

Larsen also said a few words after the presentation, discussing how Title IX works with all necessary departments, like Ombuds and Student Affairs, to ensure each complaint is taken seriously and that all parties are listened to and respected.

“It’s really hard for all the parties involved in a case, but [Title IX] does a really good job treating everyone with respect and giving them proper support for all parties involved,” Larsen said. “It can be a hard process for some people, but we want everyone to feel respected and supported to get them through that situation.”

While Maras and Larsen agreed that the student turnout was low, they both added that Title IX and Student Affairs won’t stop hosting events like these because, they want students to be aware of the help that is available to them.

“Sometimes all it takes is one person to come forward, and then the domino effect happens and people come out of the woodwork… Even if a person doesn’t want to make it a big deal, there’s still help that we can provide. So we’d still like to hear from everybody,” Maras said.

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