Southeastern Louisiana University (Courtesy of Flickr)
Southeastern Louisiana University is taking $150,000 from the school’s student newspaper and using it to pay for two additional staff members in the university’s Title IX office.
The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved the shift in funding Thursday without discussion. Half of the university’s $12 student publication fee will now go toward two new positions in the Title IX office, which handles allegations of sexual misconduct on campus.
“Students won’t see any increase in tuition,” said Eric Summers, the vice president of student affairs for Southeastern. “That $12 will be split. One half of it will be for student publications, the other half will be for Title IX.”
But with Southeastern’s student publication budget cut in half, the school’s newspaper will now have to run exclusively online, and “because we’re not printing, we will need less staffing, so there will be a position that will be eliminated,” Summers said.
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It’s not clear whether it is a student employee or staff member’s position that has been cut. Southeastern pays a handful of students who work on the weekly paper, called The Lion’s Roar.
Summers is unsure whether the budget changes will start this semester or later.
Previously, Southeastern’s Title IX staff consisted of just two positions: Title IX coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinator. The budget changes will double the university’s current Title IX staff.
The growth comes at a time when Louisiana universities are facing more scrutiny over their Title IX offices.
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This summer, the Louisiana Board of Regents expanded the duties and responsibilities of Title IX staff on campuses in the wake of LSU’s sexual assault and domestic violence scandal. The Louisiana Legislature also tightened up laws regarding Title IX and raised the stakes for universities who don’t properly handle sexual misconduct.
An USA TODAY investigation found that LSU repeatedly failed to investigate sexual assault and domestic violence allegations on its main campus in Baton Rouge. Experts pointed to LSU’s significantly understaffed Title IX office as part of the problem. That has led lawmakers and higher education officials to take a close look at other Title IX offices as well, such as the one at Southeastern.
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