Eight Columbia University students interrupted a lecture last week in protest over the university's failure to comply with Title IX guidelines.
The class, "Topics in Sexuality and Gender Law," is taught by Suzanne Goldberg, Columbia's executive vice president for university life. Goldberg, who is responsible for addressing sexual assault on campus, has come under criticism for policies rolled out during her tenure. Most recently, students have protested Columbia's policies preventing survivors of sexual assault from recording misconduct proceedings.
The students protesting her lecture distributed a pamphlet that read, "Professor Goldberg’s track record demonstrates a repeated failure to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of sexual violence survivors on this campus."
Goldberg immediately requested that the protesters leave, speaking over Columbia College junior Amelia Roskin-Frazee, while she read from the pamphlet. Roskin-Frazee led the protest and, according to the Huffington Post, has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the university.
In a statement to The Columbia Spectator, Goldberg said that interrupting a class is "unacceptable," but added that she would be willing to meet and speak with the protesters another time.
Previously, Goldberg worked as a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal, which focused on LGBTQ and HIV-related rights. Since taking on her role as executive vice president for university life at Columbia, Goldberg has implemented a number of programs, including a Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative and university-wide task forces on gender-based misconduct prevention and on race, ethnicity and inclusion.
Similar initiatives have been implemented at universities across the United States, including at Penn.
This semester, Penn has started implementing a series of recommendations made by the Task Force on a Safe and Responsible Campus Community, which was assembled after student activists publicized an offensive email sent by OZ, an off-campus fraternity.
While one of the primary goals of the task force was to counter sexual violence on campus, students have expressed confusion over how the University's new policies, which include mandatory event registrations and increased monitoring of social events, specifically address sexual violence.
Top administrators, including Penn President Amy Gutmann, have also been unable to offer an explanation of which policies directly address sexual assault.
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