Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Lending a Hand: Title IX and what it means for you

Jacob Gifford
Student walking through campus at night on September 9th, 2023. Most cases through title IX take a year to get processed.

It’s been just over ten years since the first Dear Colleague letter was sent out, officially extending Title IX protections into the issue of sexual violence on campus. Now, the Biden administration has promised new revisions to this fluctuating policy. As this transitional phase sweeps the country, it is important to look at how far Winona has come and how far we have yet to go.

A decade ago, the plentiful resources offered to students here at Winona State University were nonexistent. No Oasis Center, Confidential and Trained Advocates, or Title IX coordinators existed. Students were not completely shut out of the system but would have to go through the regular legal systems to attain justice.

But the current system is not without its problems. Many students have issues with how long Title IX proceedings take. Jessica Weis, the leader of Winona State’s Students for Reproductive Justice Club and a trained advocate, had a lot to say.

“I think it’s outrageous that you would have to wait up to a year to hear back or to process that complaint,” Weis said. “The majority of people who are putting in their paperwork are students, and they don’t have the time, the energy, the resources to restructure their entire lives.”

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Weis particularly lamented some of the troubles some of her friends had gone through on campus.

“I think a general consensus to most people who I’ve spoken to, who are advocates…is that they do not get back to people in a timely matter,” Weis said. “Like it’s actually ridiculous how long they take.”

Iris Nickolaus, a second-year student at WSU, mirrored some of the complaints that Weis voiced.

“I’ve had a couple of friends who have waited weeks to hear back once they’ve contacted them,” Nickolaus said. “It’s really frustrating that they can’t get the help they need.”

This sentiment is not unique to Winona State. According to an article by the Equal Rights Advocates Organization, Title IX does not have an absolute time frame, and the entire process usually takes several months to complete, but it can take up to a year.

Additionally, Title IX has had a controversial past, with the Trump administration overturning some Obama policies and the Biden administration releasing planned changes for October. According to the Brookings Institution, these new policies will expand Title IX protections to LGBTQIA+ students. This includes allowing protections for transgender students. Winona State currently follows NCAA and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standards in relation to transgender athletes, and it is impossible to know how those standards will change until the Biden administration releases said policies.

Despite shortcomings and turbulent changes, the victims of sexual violence should hold the most crucial place in this issue. Nickolaus cited the importance of these systems.

“Title IX really gives people what they need. I can’t imagine what we would do without it,” Nickolaus said.

Weis gave some advice based on her training to become a certified advocate.

“One way to do that is to actually listen to those on campus and those who are directly affected by these issues, and I think it’s most important to center the person who has encountered that harm,” Weis said. “You’re never alone. Don’t feel ashamed to reach out. People are here to help you.”

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About the Contributors
Casey Kruger
Casey Kruger, News Reporter
Casey Kruger (He/Him) is a news reporter for the Winonan and is in his first year at Winona State University. Kruger is studying political science for a major and English as a minor.
Kruger is also a part of the Model UN club, College Democrats, Tennis Club, and the Gaming Club. He loves reading, writing, and playing the French Horn in the Symphonic Band.
Jacob Gifford
Jacob Gifford, Features Writer

Jacob Gifford (They/He) is a photographer and a features writer for the Winonan and started in fall 2023. Jacob is in his third year at Winona State and is studying Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

Besides working for The Winonan, Jacob is also the Vice president of Philosophy Club at Winona State.

In his free time, Jacob enjoys hanging out with friends, longboarding, playing videogames, and writing and playing music. Jacob also enjoys going to concerts of local bands.

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