Editor’s note (11/08): A previous version of this article said that the Office of Equity and Inclusion didn’t respond when asked to comment. This was inaccurate and due to a miscommunication in scheduling an interview. Their interview can be found here. To best understand this story, the Campus Times recommends reading both articles.
UR’s Title IX Coordinator Morgan Levy has resigned.
In an interview with Campus Times, Levy said that two of the main reasons for her resignation back in September were massive cuts made to the Title IX budget, and administration refusing to let her see student complaints against UR faculty and staff.
According to Levy, UR uses two database systems to store student complaints: Advocate, for storing general student complaints (including student-to-student sexual misconduct and other issues), and the GME system, which is used exclusively to store student complaints against UR faculty and staff. These database systems are shared among all schools and colleges, including the School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering and Eastman School of Music.
After a federal law changed Title IX coordinator regulations in August, she requested access to the GME system as “[her] position was [now] responsible for ensuring that the University handled allegations of sex-based harassment involving faculty and staff in an appropriate manner.”
However, her requests were met with denial, as Levy said that she was continuously prevented by the administration from accessing the GME system. “I used to investigate allegations of harassment [and] discrimination at the University in one of my prior roles […] it was just strange that they wouldn’t give me access to [the GME system],” she said.
Not only did Levy not have access to the GME system, but the budget for the Title IX Office was apparently taken away at the end of June.
“[The] money had gone into this big fund for all of the Offices of Equity and Inclusion,” Levy said. Before that, the Title IX budget was used to support preventive measures (such as live and online programming), office equipment, tools, and salaries of the current Title IX staff members as well as the hiring of new employees.
It wasn’t until September that she, along with other Title IX staff members, were notified of the budget cut, when an administrator emailed her to “stop using the codes that you’re using for your budgeting because you don’t have a budget anymore.”
“I just really felt as though I [couldn’t] be in this position for one more second, where […] I am responsible for the way the University is supposed to be handling something and I’m not allowed to have access to the information which would make me know whether or not we were doing a good job with it,” Levy said. This left her with no choice but to resign.
Her resignation came as a surprise to students, especially members of Beyond Consent, an organization that “engages in activism for sexual safety, health, sexual misconduct prevention, gender justice, and consent at the Eastman School of Music,” according to their FaceBook page.
Beyond Consent member and sophomore Chloe Yofan said that Levy’s resignation was “disheartening” as “she was one of the main people [on our side] who were trying to help.”
“If […] people in the club thought that there was something that needed to be changed, she could give us a lot of information about […] how things worked [and] what [the] current policy is,” Yofan said. “She just knew a lot about the inner workings of […] policy and […] the University.”
When asked what changes she wanted to see at UR going forward, Levy pointed to policy.
“I really would like to see the University have a policy that applies equally to all people at the University that says, ‘It doesn’t matter if you are a faculty member who brings in six million dollars in grants every year or if you are an environmental service worker who is paid hourly,’” Levy said. “There needs to be greater accountability for people in positions of power for their behavior — and until that happens, we are always going to have people being treated less well than others.”