In a letter sent to students on Dec. 15, Pitzer College’s Title IX Office announced that they would commence an internal audit of their office this spring. Title IX Coordinator Corinne Vanderkamp wrote in her letter to the community that they would conduct the audit to “ensure that we create a community that is safe, responsive and fair when handling these difficult and complex issues.” Vanderkamp also wrote that the audit is still in its planning stages and that a full outline for the audit will be available on Feb. 24.
The audit is a way for the Title IX Office to obtain a better understanding of how to meet the needs of their students, and appears to be the next step in accommodating an ever-changing campus climate. The audit will be conducted by Tiombe Wallace SC ’95, who has previous experience dealing with campus sexual assault. According to Vanderkamp’s letter, Wallace is a highly trained therapist, a trainer for Pitzer’s Judicial Council, and a consultant for the Office on Violence Against Women.
Wallace described her role in the audit in an email to TSL: “I facilitate conversations to gather thoughts and needs regarding current education and prevention efforts, responses to sexual violence/intimate partner violence on campus, remediation and misconduct policies that are in place.” These conversations will be held with as many campus stakeholders as possible, including students, faculty, and staff, as well as the other resource centers that serve the community.
Wallace also described how she planned to gauge each group’s knowledge of relevant topics.
“I often use specialized questions for specific groups regarding their knowledge around things such as primary prevention, bystander intervention, investigation and conduct processes, sexual assault response/crisis intervention and follow-up for survivors, or a climate of pervasive sexual violence in certain situations on campus,” she wrote.
Wallace also asks that individuals share their own needs and the possibilities for a follow-up in the form of training, student education or orientation programs, cross-training, and revision of politics or practices. The answers to Wallace’s questions will be used to shape a public report detailing the strengths of the campus community, as well as the challenges faced by the school in regards to sexual violence.
Students can have their voice heard through various focus groups that will be held throughout the semester. Wallace emphasized in her email to TSL that student involvement, as well as the involvement of other stakeholders on campus, is pivotal to the success of the audit. According to Wallace, this student-centered approach is one of the advantages of an internal audit, rather than an external one.
“I can give recommendations from my work with the best practices and technical assistance experts across the nation, but ultimately, [regarding] the needs of the campus, paying special attention to centering folks of all positionalities is the path to finding the best practices and transforming the way we address sexual violence and other forms of interpersonal violence on campus,” she wrote.