Due to budget cuts, Emily Ralph will no longer oversee Drew’s Title IX program as the full-time coordinator. Vice President of Campus Life Frank Merckx will be taking over the role as the new part-time coordinator.
COURTESY OF DREW UNIVERSITY
During her time here at Drew, Ralph formed a student-led Title IX club called SOPHOS, provided Title IX education for Drew’s various sports team on campus, and arranged a Domestic Violence Awareness Week at Drew in which she tied survivors’ stories with purple ribbons to trees around campus. Ralph’s impact on Drew students was strong, and many were startled to find that the full-time coordinator had been let go. Student Hannah Paczkowski (‘22) said she found out through an anonymous Facebook message. “There was no announcement or anything,” she said. Students have taken to signing an online petition in support for Emily Ralph, the petition that will be delivered to Mead Hall on January 30th. “[We need to start] taking sexual assault more seriously on campus, or we will be taking a giant step backward,” said Paczkowski.
Although staffing has changed in Drew’s Title IX program, Frank Merckx has qualifications to make an effective organization on campus. In a conversation with The Acorn, Merckx said there will be no more budget cuts beyond the decision to remove Emily Ralph, and that he will continue to grow and improve Title IX resources on campus, including expanding resources to partner agencies off-campus in Madison, Morris Country and the state of New Jersey. Merckx was a member of NJ State Campus Sexual Assault Task Force, and is highly committed to providing resources to students, faculty, and staff. “Three deputy Title IX coordinators, and I are available and our reporting structures remain the same,” Merckx said. In addition to continuing to offer resources to students, Merckx wants to continue Title IX education on campus.The deputy Title IX coordinators are Stephanie Pelham, Joshua Phillips and Lynn Vogel. Additional resources will be made available through health services, the counseling center, and the chaplain.
Title IX refers to the ninth provision listed in the Education Amendments of 1972 which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. To report a Title IX violation, students, faculty, and staff can go to the Title IX office located in EC 147, submit an incident report on Drew’s title IX webpage, or contact Coordinator Merckx directly at his email email@example.com.