Learning Commons organized protest against Title IX violations on Nov. 1

Chants included “Let us learn in peace, fire the creeps”

Andrew Ulstad and Megan Rogers

Chants of “Stop protecting rapists!” rang through the walkways between the SURC and Brooks Library on Tuesday, Nov. 1 as students aired their grievances over alleged Title IX violations by campus staff.

According to the CWU website, Title IX laws “prohibit discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance … including but not limited to: sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence by employees, students, and third parties.”

An anonymous organizer of the protest and complainant claimed that their supervisor discriminated against her at the Learning Commons on campus.

They claimed that her supervisor, Jared Odd, spoke inappropriately on gender pronouns and had a policy banning employees from asking what pronouns students prefer. They also claimed that Odd would not use different pronouns than biologically presented under the guise of having an agenda being pushed on him.

The source claimed that they were demoted after filing a series of Title IX complaints against Odd. They said they believe that revealing they are neurodivergent was one of the motivating factors in their demotion. The source said that Odd claimed it was due to reasons not related to them being neurodivergent. 

“I disclosed that I had autism … Two weeks later I was demoted from my lead position,” the source said. After being demoted, Odd said it was due to budget concerns.

According to the complainant, they layer asked about the administration budget and administrators told her there was no budget change.

During the protest the complainant said, “I was told by Jared [Odd] that he had lied about why I was demoted. I was demoted because I had filed complaints about him to other administrators and that other tutors liked me more than him because I was advocating against him.”

The source claimed the investigation they are involved in included 19 witnesses and five other complainants. 

They said that during the investigation, “We started hearing about other Title IX cases that had been kinda swept under the rug by the university … [We came] to the conclusion that the administration was being negligent and we had to take action.” 

Students from multiple departments took part in the demonstration. Anthropology student Faith Kruse, who claims to have been a victim of harassment at her job on campus, said the Instagram account “Cats Against Assault” brought the protest to her attention. “Cats Against Assault” made their first post on Oct. 20 and at present have over 1,700 followers. 

“It’s really important that more people speak out,” Kruse said. “Because then you’re going to realize that, ‘Hey, he did that to me too.’” 

Kruse said the public allegations against her former supervisor are part of what made her realize how inappropriate some of their daily interactions were.

Senior political science major Blu Christensen said this protest and others like it are important.

“Myself and other victims of sexual assault and abuse are having their voices erased in a lot of ways by having these cases being dismissed,” Christensen said.  “In many ways, I know that other victims feel like they don’t have any other voice … if their cases are dismissed.”

Attendees and organizers were calling for accountability in Title IX compliance and consequences for perpetrators.

CWU Police Chief Jason Berthon-Koch was present with another officer to ensure safety during the demonstration.

“College is a place to explore and to learn what we stand for,” Berthon-Koch said. “We’re here as the police department to support all sides of it and to make sure that it is a safe event for everybody.”

Keep an eye out for more in-depth coverage of this case in the future.

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