On Feb. 22, the University of Connecticut’s student government Senate voted and passed an amendment calling for professors to be required to add Title IX and mental health statements to syllabi.
The amendment will now be voted at the University Senate. According to Academic Affairs Advocacy Director Abbey Engler, the process will take months, “perhaps even years in order to actually change the policy.”
The Title IX statement shall include the university’s commitment to responding to all reports, information on how to report sex discrimination and false accusations and information on available resources for students who have experienced sex discrimination and false accusations.
The Mental Health statement shall include acknowledgement on the importance of mental health and well-being, a statement on encouragement to seek support and information on resources available for mental health support.
Nour Al Zouabi, USG’s multicultural and diversity senator, had written the legislation. She stated that the syllabi is the source of information for all students. Al Zouabi believes this will be an effective way of communication from the university.
“This is the best place to share the information with everyone,” stated Al Zouabi, in regards to the adding the statement in the syllabi.
The amendment stated “syllabi serve as a method for disseminating UConn policies and procedures relevant to courses to all students, this includes Title IX and mental health resources, which are policies that are crucial for students to be aware of.”
The University Senate by-laws do not mandate Title IX and mental health statements in the syllabi.
The by-laws only stated, “instructors shall specify what will be taught, when and how it will be taught, when and how learning will be assessed, if, when, and how missed assignments (for which medical documentation cannot be required) will be handled, how grades will be assigned, and (for distance education courses) how student identity will be authenticated.”
UConn has experienced an increase in a number of sexual assault cases in 2021, according to UConn Today.
University President Radenka Maric’s Task Force on Combating Sexual Violence and Supporting Our Students suggested that new steps are necessary to address the problem.
“Developing a new system for organizing information to help people connect more directly with specific resources for support, medical care, and investigations.”
“I believe that by adding these two statements, we are able to better create a welcoming and safe environment at UConn,” Al Zouabi said. “Not only for specific groups or students, this is for everyone. ”