ASWC Passes Title IX Transcript Notation Resolution

Eleanor Matson, Staff Reporter

Three weeks ago, the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) passed a new resolution Title IX investigations and convictions notated on students’ transcripts. This move is in part an effort to increase accountability in the Title IX process and to prevent students from easily transferring to other universities after a conviction.

As it stands, a student convicted of a Title IX offense, such as sexual assaulting another student, is able to transfer to another university without record of the conviction on their transcripts.

There have been movements across the nation to alter the current policy. Two examples referenced in the ASWC resolution were Occidental College and Emerson College, which have already started transcript notation and Virginia and New York which both require transcript notation under state law.

This ASWC resolution written by juniors Molly Unsworth and Kyle Fix seeks to pressure the administration into requiring transcript notations.

Unsworth cited her dissatisfaction with the way Title IX does not hold perpetrators accountable for their actions as one reason why she felt compelled to write this resolution.

“Through the process, there was never a point where [my perpetrator] confronted the facts of what he had done and I feel like this is the underlying flaw of Title IX. In a process that is built upon the right one has to an education free from harassment, I think the current system fails to uphold any sense of integrity,” Unsworth wrote in an email to The Wire.

Unsworth clarified that without transcript notations, there are no consequences for anyone convicted of even the highest Title IX offense unless the university they transfer to requires a letter from the Dean of Students.

“By being allowed to freely transfer, they are not only not held to any Code of Conduct, but also shown that they will never be truly held responsible for their behavior,” Unsworth wrote.

Their reasoning and desire for change were well received by ASWC. The Senate passed this legislation by acclimation, a voting procedure designed to signify ASWC’s highest form of unanimous approval.

Fix found their encounters with ASWC during the process to be very supportive and positive.

The Committee on Students Affairs in ASWC “believed we should absolutely bring [the resolution] before the senate and we did that last weekend. People were very, very supportive of it.” Fix said. “It ended up passing by acclimation which was so great and both Molly and I were just very emotional for it. All of our hard work is truly supported by the governing body of the students.”

Vice President of ASWC and the chair of the Committee on Student Affairs Dana Casterella, a senior, believes the vote to be one of the most important moments during her ASWC career.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s these sorts of resolutions and legislations in general that make me proud to be a part of ASWC. It shows to me that we do have the power to make meaningful change on campus and potentially in the state legislature. We are sending this on to our governor and our state representatives to consider making it state law to have transcript notation.” Casterella said.

However, the legislation could take anywhere between the end of this year and two years to be adopted by Whitman.

Casterella remains hopeful that it will be adopted sooner rather than later.

“It could be anywhere between the end of this year till the next 2 years. I hope it will go faster than that. I think we do have the mechanisms in place to make this go faster than other things, especially considering we now have people like Haley Powers working on campus. I think we could very well see it implemented by the end of the year. It is something that me and [ASWC President Arthur Shemitz] will certainly push for.” Casterella said.