Title IX discussion continues

Following recent events surrounding sexual assault and harassment prevention and reporting, students seek solutions.

Anika Besst, News Editor

Content Warning: This article includes discussion of sexual assault and hasrassment. 


On December 2, 2021 HUSC hosted a Title IX discussion for students where Title IX coordinators, Patti Kersten and t. aaron hans shared knowledge and fielded questions. 

After the event, there is a growing interest from students regarding what solutions could be explored with ideas including student support groups and external resources, as well as interest in overall transparency and accountability. 

“I know there has to be resources somewhere that are like survivor resources and that can be reporting, that could be like trauma processing… but I don’t consider the police to be a resource that I would go to, and I don’t really consider, based on what I’ve heard about the process that students have gone through…I don’t really consider on campus to be a great resource,”Junior Kayden Rinzel said. “So if there was a place that could help us with reporting as students or putting survivors in contact with maybe other survivors and kind of like building networks and community focus.” 

Junior Kayla Tester is currently drafting a resolution to propose to HUSC regarding Hamline hiring some form of an Ombuds office. This office would stand as a professional mediator separate from the Dean of Students office to allow students, faculty and staff to have a resource that specifically focuses on these matters.

“I feel like Hamline has the interest of the institution first. And whatever that means in different situations, because there’s so many different, not only Title IX for sexual assault cases, but just any kind of dispute between students or staff and the administration. There is a conflict of interests for the Dean’s office to both represent Hamline and students, which is why I’m proposing a resolution to be brought forward with HUSC about hiring an ombuds office,” Tester said. 

Hamline used to have an ombudsman, Molly McAvoy, but no longer does. Tester believes an ombuds office is the bare minimum Hamline can do in supporting it’s community regarding sexual assault and harassment. 

“What I hope would come out of hiring ombuds in an ideal world is that it would make it so students didn’t feel like they had to go online anonymously to air their grievances with Hamline because an ombuds person would be able to take those grievances and make change,” Tester said. “I want support, advocacy, and with those two combined, I want to make actual change.” 

Tester has been in communication with members of HUSC regarding what is the best process through this resolution. One member she has been discussing with is the HUSC Public Affair’s chair Emily Hilderbrand. 

“I am more than happy to support this resolution in any way I can,” Hilderbrand said in an email statement. 

Faculty have also voiced interest and support for an Ombuds office. 

Fiscally, HUSC has found that a full-time ombuds office is not feasible at this time, something Hamline administration has also alleged. Tester has already considered the financial factor of a full-time position. 

“I think it’s just necessary whether [Hamline] needs to find the funding somewhere else or work with HUSC. It’s really clear that faculty and students need a more neutral advocate for information,” Tester said.