New Stories

Title IX Accusations

by Chelle Jackson

Student names have been changed for the sake of anonymity. 

Students have approached The Insider with complaints of Title IX not acting appropriately on Pitt-Greensburg’s campus.

“The only way I was consistently getting meetings and getting things done is I would just walk down to the Title IX office and be like ‘Hey, is she in her office?’ ‘Hey, can I speak to her?’ ‘Hey, can I get this done?’ ‘Have you done this?’” Margaret, a super senior at Pitt-Greensburg, said.

The Title IX office on Pitt-Greensburg’s campus is only one person, Mary Anne Koleny, Title IX Liaison.

“Anything we do, we get their review and approval first,” Koleny said. “It’s all under the Title IX coordinator, Katie Pope.”

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), about two thirds of college students experience sexual harassment.

“The person filing a complaint drives the process. They determine if we move forward,” Koleny said. “We receive a number of reports, but the individual might not want to move forward with the investigation.”

NSVRC reports that 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses don’t report their assault, but this was not the case with Margaret.

“I had to prompt them and ask ‘What’s up with my case?’ ‘What’s the next step?’ because they still hadn’t gotten back to me over the summer,” she said.

Margaret was not only unimpressed by the time it took for her case to be reviewed, but also by the investigation itself.

“[They] disregarded the only faculty witnesses on this list and then called [the] investigation complete,” Margaret said. “I understand that Title IX is certainly not as qualified as a real legal department and does not function as a real legal entity, but you’d think that the very basics of conducting an investigation would be to speak to everyone who has been referenced as being involved.”

She wound up dropping out for the semester after the incident of harassment.

“I had straight A’s at that point but it was just like my mental and physical health was suffering so much that I could not handle it anymore,” Margaret said. “That was just it for me.”

Koleny declined to speak on specific cases.

“My primary focus is to make sure the individuals have resources,” Koleny said.

Margaret was not the only one to have problems with Title IX at Pitt-Greensburg.

“She lost the file that I handed her in person and didn’t contact me for four months,” Barbara said.

Barbara is a junior at Pitt-Greensburg.

“I was told I had to be understanding of a situation of retaliation,” Barbara said. “Mary Anne made me feel like I had been the one in the wrong.”

The Title IX office finds the accused responsible or not responsible.

“When someone is found responsible we make recommendations to either the Vice President of Academic Affairs or the Dean of Student Services. They determine the outcome,” Koleny said.

When the accused is a student, they work with Student Conduct. When the accused is a professor, they work with the Dean.

“We work with the investigators in Oakland,” Koleny said. “Our job is to be a neutral fact-finding person.”

Margaret’s case involved a professor, who was found not responsible, but had to go through training.

“Training for what?” Margaret asked. “To become a better predator? Because all you’re going to do is teach him what not to say and what not to do to get caught.”

Margaret has the option to appeal, but is unsure how that would work because she is graduating at the end of the semester.

“Now I’m kind of left deciding whether or not I appeal, which I guarantee will not be a speedy process. I’m graduating this semester, and if they had concluded this last semester, which would have been within reason, it would’ve been a lot easier to appeal.”

Her full case took about a year and a half to conclude.

“The Title IX office is not incompetent. They are not idiots,” Margaret said. “They are educated, adult women and men who are doing their job well and their job is to cover things up for Pitt.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: