Angela Nastase gives an in-depth look into Title IX office
BY LAURA SCUDDER, COPY EDITOR
In June, an email was sent to university students announcing Angela Nastase’s hire as Mason’s new Title IX Coordinator.
“She brings extensive experience and is a nationally recognized expert in Title IX administration,” wrote Julian Williams, the vice president of Compliance, Diversity and Ethics (CDE), in the email to Mason’s student body. Nastase formerly served as the Title IX Coordinator at Marymount University.
Title IX is an office within CDE. CDE handes discrimination in all forms — with Title IX addressing sex and gender-based discrimination.
Nastase said that her “main goal is to ensure that members of the campus community are able to focus on educational programs and activities in an environment that is free of sex and gender-based discrimination, and harassment.”
Nastase said she is “committed to providing a fair and balanced resolution process that addresses reports of sexual and interpersonal misconduct.”
In order to provide that balanced process, Nastase facilitates the cases between complainants and investigators. The Title IX office has two investigators — Lamar Ball and Emily Gleason — who step in to examine cases.
In situations where Title IX has an overflow of cases or needs extra help with a particular issue, outside investigators step in.
“The police process is separate and may be simultaneous to Title IX investigations under the university’s policy,” said Nastase of Title IX investigations.
Nastase’s job is to be the point of contact for students involved in such cases. When a case comes to Nastase, she reaches out to the complainant, first speaking to them in-person and then sending an email after to discuss the options involved in reporting the incident that occurred.
The office makes the process as private as possible and students can choose to go through an informal or formal process.
Under university policy, a formal process is when a complainant reports that a student has engaged in at least one instance of prohibited conduct and requests that an investigation or disciplinary action be pursued. The Title IX Review Committee or the Title IX Coordinator then decides whether a formal investigation is appropriate. In cases of physical harm, a formal process must be pursued.
An informal, or alternative, resolution can be pursued when agreed upon by the complainant, respondent and Title IX Coordinator. Such solutions can include training for relevant individuals or housing accommodations, among other solutions.
Nastase said these documents can also be accessed online under University Policy.
According to Nastase, all students involved in a case are updated on the happenings of the Title IX process. Title IX has a responsibility to be neutral with all parties involved, as the office has to ensure due process in accordance with rules established by the Department of Education.
Along with this rule, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act — or more succinctly the Clery Act — is the reason behind the emails that get sent to students informing them of suspicious incidents on campus.
All Mason employees are required to complete one annual and two biennial trainings.
Aside from options for complainants, Nastase explained the kind of work that goes into promoting awareness of what prohibited conduct is.
According to Nastase, the Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence (SAIV) committee — previously a task force — is an implementation team with administrators, faculty, students and other campus stakeholders that takes a comprehensive approach to preventing sexual assault and interpersonal violence at Mason.
One goal of the committee is to create a more robust outreach campaign to make sure the campus community understands concepts like consent and healthy relationships, knows how and where to report instances of discrimination, and is aware of the support resources that are available to those who need them.
Members of Mason for Survivors are on the committee as well to provide that student input.
The office is currently working on updating the website, and recently added an online reporting form to the Title IX and CDE website.
As for addressing past concerns from students in regard to Title IX, Nastase is mainly looking to move forward and let students know that Title IX is a place where students, faculty and staff can go to for help.