CWU’s workgroup aims to address gender-based violence


Brittany Cinderella

The Gender-Based Violence workgroup has met twice since its formation.

Megan Rogers, Assistant News Editor

CWU’s Gender-Based Violence Work Group has enhanced communication with students and student leaders, and worked to search for a new Deputy Title IX Coordinator, according to the CWU Safe website. The workgroup was originally announced on Nov. 10, 2022 and since then they have met twice. 

According to the CWU Safe website, the group will “learn more about best practices and to make recommendations about specific changes that could be made to elevate the equity-minded and trauma-informed prevention, handling of gender-based violence and to increase the sense of physical and psychological safety on campus” (See: “New Gender-Based Violence Prevention workgroup to review policies, practices and programs.”)

The workgroup is formed by representatives from CWU, including four ASCWU student representatives: Solomon Kairu, Devon Nawdish, Yaritza Granados and Annika Brimhall. Four representatives from the faculty senate: Sara Toto, Tim Lawless, Pam McMullin-Messier and Cynthia Coe. Three representatives from the exempt employee council: Marissa Howat, Chris Denison and Amber Hoefe. And three representatives from the classified employee council: Cody Mertell, Stephanie FitzGerald and Josie Rollins.

One of the primary goals of this workgroup is to improve the campus climate for students, faculty, staff and anyone else within the community, according to Co-Chair for the Gender-Based Violence Workgroup and Professor of Philosophy, Cynthia Coe.

“Part of the challenge is going to be figuring out: how do we do that effectively, where are we now and how do we need to get better and how do we do that,” Coe said. 

Marissa Howat, co-chair of the Gender-Based Violence Workgroup and director of Wellness Center, said that with this workgroup, she is happy to have multiple people involved.

“It’s a multidisciplinary task force,” Howat said. “One that has representation from both students and employees across campus. I am eager to share some of the work that happens in the office that I work in, or the good work that I know about in other areas … just get more people invested in it.”

Coe said it is important to student, faculty and employee councils because of the different experiences and perspectives everyone has.

“We’ve heard what has gone wrong and have a sense of, ‘okay, this is what needs to be fixed,’” Coe said. “Really making this not just a top-down order from higher administration, but really sort of gathering what’s going on on campus in terms of people’s experiences, and how do we address this issue better.”

According to the CWU Safe website, a step CWU has taken to address gender-based violence, is working to hire a new position in the Title IX office. According to Thomas Pedersen, Title IX coordinator, the position they are looking to fill is the ‘Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Education and Prevention.’

“[They] will be in charge of creating but also coordinating education efforts and prevention efforts across campus with campus partners, for both students and employees,” Pederson said. 

Pedersen said they will launch the search in the next few weeks and hopefully have someone hired for the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Education and Prevention position by spring quarter.

Students who have experienced gender-based violence can reach out to PATH (prevention, advocacy, training and healing) for support.

“PATH is free, confidential advocacy, provided on an as needed basis for students regardless of when they’ve had experience with interpersonal violence with gender-based violence …  if they’re unsure about how to feel about it or where they want to go or who they want to talk to,” Howat said.

According to Howat, students who are interested in connecting with PATH can go to their website, email them at [email protected] or call the main office phone at (509) 963- 3213. 

For students interested in keeping up with the work of the Gender-Based Violence Workgroup, information can be found on the CWU Safe website.