MU Faculty Council discusses Title IX, Thursday football games

Thursday, September 4, 2014 | 10:12 p.m. CDT; updated 6:10 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 5, 2014

COLUMBIA —  Additional faculty and staff training is among changes that will increase awareness of Title IX and prevent future violations of the federal mandate, said Linda Bennett, interim campus Title IX coordinator, at an MU Faculty Council meeting Thursday.

Bennett gave a presentation to council members alongside Marsha Fischer, who joined the University of Missouri System General Counsel's office in May and is the systemwide point of contact for Title IX-related issues.

MU has a responsibility to protect its students, Fischer said.

"With that responsibility comes opportunity — opportunity to make a difference and opportunity to make a change," Fischer said.

A new website will provide more information about Title IX, Bennett said. She did not give a date for when the website will be online but said it will be soon. 

Bennett and Fischer emphasized that employees are required to report potential violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, such as sexual harassment or violence.

"Listen to (the students), give them the resources and report," Bennett said.

Before UM System President Tim Wolfe issued an executive order in April, there was no reporting requirement or mandatory training for MU faculty or staff for handling Title IX incidents.

Thursday night football

Also discussed at the meeting was a tentative plan for Missouri to play in Thursday football games at Memorial Stadium starting next season.

MU Faculty Athletics Representative Lori Franz said the proposed Thursday date is Nov. 5, 2015.

"We would try to limit participation to no more than one game on campus every four years and one away game every four years," Franz said.

Some Faculty Council members raised concerns that it could interrupt students' focus on academics.

"Why would we ask academia to make any adjustments when we have plenty of Fridays and Saturdays?" council member Rebecca Johnson asked. "We have plenty of weekends and only six (home) games."

Franz said the change comes from joining the Southeastern Conference. The Thursday games would be held after 4 p.m., she said.

She encouraged council members to email her with comments and concerns.

"If we're going to do it, let's move forward and start planning yesterday," Franz said.

Supervising editor is Caroline Bauman.

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Ellis Smith September 5, 2014 | 8:25 a.m.

"Why would we ask academia to make any adjustments when we have plenty of Fridays and Saturdays?"

If the faculty meeting in question had been held at UMKC, UMSL or MS&T that would definitely have been an appropriate question, because any matters "athletic" at those campuses take an obvious back seat to academic concerns*, but at MU the athletic department "leads the academic departments around by their collective noses." Sadly, MU isn't the only place nationally where that happens.

Presenting the situation as being a consequence of changing athletic conferences is a "red herring," as the situation at MU has been there for some time. But that said, it might now be accelerated by the switch to the "Hee-Haw" conference.

Reality can be ignored, but it's still reality.

*- At MS&T (can't and shouldn't speak for UMKC or UMSL) alumni are - and have consistently been - in agreement with the academic faculty about KEEPING academics our number one priority.

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