Cornish students staged a protest on October 15 with the major issue being the College’s handling of Title IX complaints, which deals with sexual misconduct and gender discrimination. All those involved in the protest were invited into the office of the President to discuss their concerns. He then issued the following response to all students.
Dear Cornish Students, Parents, Employees and Partners,
On Monday, approximately 60 students from Cornish College of the Arts peacefully assembled on our main campus to protest the College’s handling of Title IX complaints, which deals with sexual misconduct and gender discrimination. I invited the group to meet with me, and as they assembled peacefully in my office they shared their concerns on a variety of issues related to sexual misconduct, education and training, transparency, and experiences both in and out of the classroom. I am very moved by the open dialogue yesterday, and I want to thank the participants for their passionate, respectful, and heartfelt observations.
A few weeks ago I launched the search for a new full-time position of Title IX Coordinator and Equal Opportunity Officer, a position that reports directly to the President. In that announcement I stated the following: “When it comes to combating sexual discrimination and harassment, I believe that compliance with regulations such as the current annual training for staff and faculty are not enough. We need to deepen our work and make this an even more important, and ever-present, part of our daily culture at Cornish.”
During our meeting, I asked the students for ongoing participation and dialogue, specifically to help work with faculty and administrators to address immediate concerns and build a culture of ongoing support. Several students have already volunteered to be a part of this conversation. Yesterday, I charged the President’s Cabinet with improving the accessibility of our existing policies and procedures, as well as identifying leaders in our community of faculty and peer institutions that can assist in our efforts. I will keep you informed as this process moves forward.
My first priority as your new President is to create a safe and supportive environment for our entire community – students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends of Cornish. All students at Cornish College of the Arts should feel confident that the administration, faculty, and staff is committed to assuring that their welfare is our most important consideration.
However, only by working together as a community can we achieve this goal. I encourage employees to share your thoughts or suggestions with your division vice-president, who will continue to advise me. I look forward to more conversation with our students, parents and faculty in the coming weeks as we work to build a safer and more secure community here at Cornish College of the Arts.
Raymond Tymas-Jones, Ph.D.