On Friday morning in the Enyon Ballroom of the Chamberlain Student Center, students from several universities in New Jersey came together to discuss a pressing topic.
Organized by students at Rowan, the Redefining Title IX Student Summit was meant to provide a platform for people to come together and discuss issues regarding title IX. Title IX has been in the news recently, as current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced plans to review certain aspects of the law, including areas related to sexual assault on campus.
Senior psychology major Kayla Raparelli was one of the co-chairs for the event. She put on the event with her co-chair, junior health and exercise science major Al Pelose, and the help of the planning committee. And for Raparelli, it was exciting to see her hard work and planning pay off.
“My co-chair and I are very passionate about the [topic of] Title IX, as well as the rest of the planning committee, who deserve full and complete credit,” Raparelli said. “Because without them, without Al [Pelose], this would not be possible today. Being that we’re all so passionate, we were thrilled to even plan an event like this.”
The event started with a welcome, and a keynote speech from Dr. Nadine Sullivan, a professor of sociology and gender studies at Rowan University. After the keynote address, a quick powerpoint presentation was given, outlining frequently asked questions and common information about Title IX.
The assembled attendees then split up into breakout sessions, housed in rooms 221, 129 and 127 of the Student Center. There were three separate timeslots in each room, running from 10:15 a.m . -2 p.m. The topics ranged in scope from Rowan Greek Life and Title IX to Breaking the Stigma of Male Sexual Assault.
Gary Baker, the new assistant director of Greek Affairs on campus, led one of the breakout sessions about curbing sexually abusive behavior in sports, as well as other areas of life. Baker is passionate about the subject, and said this was a perfect chance to educate others.
“I think it’s really important to do this,” Baker said. “It is important to do it everywhere but I think when we look nationally at the fanaticism of sports and what people are willing to forgive if someone’s a good running back. That’s messed up and it’s scary. So I think it’s important to have this conversation and to hold all people accountable and to change that culture in sports.”
Gardy Guiteau, the director of the Rowan Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution was another one of the breakout session presenters. He summed up how happy he was to see this event come to fruition, saying he doesn’t hear about events like this happen elsewhere.
“One of the things I think is important is that this is a student-run, developed conference,” Guiteau said. “I don’t know that there are a lot of other places in higher ed where students take on the issue of Title IX in this way.”
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