Students and faculty gathered outside the student center at Eastern Michigan University, bundled against the cold, to support Title IX at the “Run for Title IX.”
The run took place on March 21 at 4 p.m. and was put on by EMU’s Title IX office.
“I desperately want our student body to know there’s a place to go to if they need help,” said Melody Werner, the coordinator at the Title IX office. “If they have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted or have been a victim of domestic violence or dating violence or they have been stalked, they are going to need our help.”
Title IX not only deals with students who have been victims of sexual assault, but also gender equality issues on campus. It was implemented as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and prohibits discrimination based on sex under any educational program or activity receiving financial aid.
The Run for Title IX wanted to raise awareness for the amendment but also the Title IX office on campus, which is there to help students who have been a victim of sexual assault or experience inequality on campus.
“I wanted to take part so more people would know about the Title IX office,” said Gina Gildons, a junior who came out to walk the race. “As a resident advisor, I can see freshman coming in and not knowing what resources we have on campus”
Gildons was one of thirty people that came to walk/run the 1.9 trek through campus. She was there with her fellow resident advisor and Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority sister Kate Blanton, also a junior.
“We wanted to show support from our sorority because female empowerment is very important to us we don’t want any woman to be disrespected or treated unfairly,” said Blanton.
The EMU track and cross-country teams were also there to support the Run for Title IX by lining the course and cheering for all the participants that walked or ran the track.
The Ypsilanti Running Company showed its support and offered the first person across the finish line a free pair of running shoes. The Title IX office also had raffle prizes including EMU gear and gift cards. They provided granola bars, water and t-shirts for people participating in the run.
“I want them [EMU students] to know they have dedicated office where they can come to where its private and safe and they can talk to me about what’s happened and I’ll put in place the remedial measures that they need to cope and stay a student because many students prior to our office would just drop out,” Werner said.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, the doors to the Title IX office are always open to anyone who needs help. The Title IX office is located in 100B Boone Hall.