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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Faculty Senate receives update on gender-neutral spaces, Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance

Kristy Mace
Jolynn Dowling, Faculty Senate president, speaks at the Faculty Senate meeting on March 27. Dowling was a nursing senator at the time.

Last spring, Chase Billingham, an at-large senator, urged the Faculty Senate to work with administration and student groups on campus to discuss and mitigate the impact of SB 180, which requires transgender individuals to legally identify themselves as and use facilities based on their sex assigned at birth.

Faculty Senate President Jolynn Dowling gave an update on the university’s response to the bill at the Sept. 11 Faculty Senate meeting. 

The university has worked with the Student Government Association and Spectrum: LBGTQ and Allies to map gender-neutral bathrooms around campus. In the summer, Lainie Mazzullo-Hart, director of communications, said in a statement to The Sunflower that Wichita State was evaluating the bill to see how it would impact campus.

Zach Gearheart, chief of staff for President Richard Muma, said that the university’s general counsel has analyzed the bill, and the administration does not foresee any changes “in either policy or practice” after the bill runs through the court system.

Gearheart encouraged faculty to communicate this message to students, other faculty and organizations.

“We’re happy, in our office, to meet with any student, faculty or staff member that wants clarity on that or wants to ask any questions about that,” Gearheart said. 

With new construction on campus, Dowling said that the plans will include gender neutral spaces to promote a “safe, inclusive environment” that is “just part of our strategic plan as we go forward.”

Jennifer Pearson, the faculty adviser for Spectrum, said that students are still concerned that the university has not confirmed that they will be protected if faculty, staff or another student questions whether they can be in certain spaces.

Dowling responded by saying that they can “get the right people” to Pearson “to be able to answer how that protection is provided.”

Office of CTAC updates

Courtney McHenry, associate vice president and leader of the Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance (CTAC), gave a presentation to Faculty Senate on how their office is evolving since McHenry joined in December.

Under current U.S. law, McHenry’s office has Title IX jurisdiction over incidents that happen on properties owned by Wichita State, which excludes the YMCA. This means that formal investigations can only occur when incidents happen in those areas, but he said that he and his staff are willing to listen to any student, faculty or staff member and direct them to proper resources.

“We still meet with the students, we still try to guide them,” McHenry said. “I sit on the CARE team, we make sure they get what they need.”

Any member of the campus community can submit a report to CTAC through this form.

McHenry also said that they are reworking CTAC trainings for students and staff and, as of now, the programs should take 30-60 minutes depending on the level of training.

Transportation concerns

During informal statements, Neal Allen, a senator from political science, suggested that a shuttle run around 3:15 p.m. from the far side of campus to Woolsey Hall and back at the end of meetings in order to make the Faculty Senate more accessible for faculty to attend in person.

Dowling said that the executive board would explore transportation options for future meetings.

Before the Faculty Senate meets again on Sept. 25, the Kansas Board of Regents will meet on Sept. 20-21.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Managing Editor
Trinity Ramm is the managing editor and former sports editor for The Sunflower. This is her second year on staff. Ramm is a senior English Lit major and a sociology minor with a certificate in film studies. In her limited spare time, she can be found at the movie theater, browsing some obscure film database or crocheting. Ramm uses she/her pronouns.
Kristy Mace
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

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