A new club on campus is becoming a resource for victims of sexual discrimination and their allies. Rowan IX, an unchartered, student-run organization, is less than a year old, but already has plans for making a difference at the university.
Rowan IX’s mission is to raise awareness about the Title IX Act, a bill passed in 1972 that prohibits sexual discrimination within educational programs. Despite many misconceptions, Title IX does not only aim to foster more inclusive sports teams: it also covers issues such as sexual discrimination, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The purpose of Rowan IX is to provide a safe place for students to learn more about the bill, and how it relates to Rowan’s campus.
“Rowan IX is a safe place for people to have support, and to talk about very serious issues in a calm setting,” said Chelsea Mintiens, the club’s vice president.
The club was founded last semester by sophomore Al Pelose, a health promotion and wellness management major. Pelose was inspired to start Rowan IX after attending the Title IX Summit, a student-led, university-sanctioned conference on Title IX. Before Rowan IX, she was heavily involved with the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee on campus.
Rowan IX has partnered with the Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution Center (SJICR) and has over 30 members on their roster.
“I actually didn’t know what Title IX was until I spoke with the president,” Mintiens said. “Then, I realized that I was very passionate about the stuff that it deals with.”
“just because you may not be a victim of sexual violence, does not mean that you can’t be a part of the club.” – Vice president chelsea Mintiens
For some members, Rowan IX is a place where they can be open about how sexual violence has affected them. Some members have been sexually assaulted, or know someone who has been. For others, it is a place to learn about sexual violence prevention and other issues discussed in Title IX.
“It’s a hard topic, and people should have the support of their peers when going through these things,” Pelose said.
“Just because you may not be a victim of sexual violence does not mean that you can’t be a part of the club,” Mintiens said . “You can still be involved even if you know nothing about it too.”
This year, the club expects to host events to spread awareness about Title IX and sexual violence prevention. One event is a fundraiser for their Bandanna Project. Club members will decorate white bandannas and wear them in November to show support for blue-collar female workers who must hide their faces on the job, for fear of harassment. The bandannas also represent women in male-dominated majors and fields, like engineering. Anyone who donates at least one dollar to Rowan IX’s Bandanna Project gets to choose a random prize from a box.
Rowan IX tentatively meets in The Wellness Center at Winans Hall, room 112 at 2:00 p.m. every other Friday. To donate to their fundraiser, or for more information about joining Rowan IX, contact club President Al Pelose at email@example.com.
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