What’s the Deal
An Intervention Theatre Piece about Title IX for Faculty, Staff, and Administrators
By Michael Agnew
Title IX is a hot-button topic on campuses. A recent report from a presidential panel shone a bright and alarming light on campus sexual violence. A number of high-profile civil rights complaints have put many colleges on notice and left a few in danger of losing federal funds. New guidance on the reporting of sexual violence and sexual harassment has created an environment of stress and confusion as schools implement updated policies that will keep them in compliance with federal law.
But what does the new guidance actually mean? The language is somewhat vague. Schools are arriving at different interpretations. Uncertainties abound. As with any change, questions arise. Exactly who qualifies as a “responsible employee,” required to report disclosures of sexual harassment? What kinds of disclosures have to be reported? Are there circumstances that override the reporting requirement, such as student wishes or method of disclosure? What about the special relationship of confidentiality and trust that exists between faculty and student?
What’s the Deal? was created especially for college faculty, staff, and administrators to explore these areas of uncertainty. In three theatrical scenes, What’s the Deal? presents the questions and concerns that the new requirements elicit across the campus community, from maintenance workers and administrators to faculty and students. Facilitated talkbacks allow for discussion, debate, and clarification.
- A custodian overhears a conversation at an off-campus bar about an incident that occurred at the bar the night before. His co-worker thinks it might have been rape. Students may have been involved. Should they tell someone?
- Elena’s student published a paper online in which he discloses a two year-old assault. The paper was assigned in Elena’s class. Her colleague, Professor Kravitz thinks Elena has to report it. Elena is concerned about confidentiality and maintaining the trust of her students. Who is right?
- When Kathryn reported to her advisor that an ex-boyfriend was stalking her, she expected the advisor to take action. He believes the situation will pass and that reporting will do Kathryn more harm than good. Should the advisor report if he doesn’t see harassment?
Important Program Note:
The new reporting guidelines are complicated. Interpretations differ from campus to campus. To ensure accuracy, GTC Dramatic Dialogues partners with your campus Title IX Coordinators, including them into What’s the Deal? performances as the local “panel of experts.” It’s a great introduction of the Title IX team to employees and insures that campus-specific policies are correctly expressed.
“High Impact Training was very easy to work with and provided great service in getting the Troupe on campus. The “What’s the Deal?” training was interactive, engaging, and dynamic. It provided the opportunity to have an open dialogue with all employees and increased our understanding of how Title IX applies to our roles. The energy and professionalism of the GTC troupe provided a level of creativity and fun to a normally monotonous training.”