President Joe Biden not too long ago appointed Suzanne Goldberg, the previous head of college life at Columbia University and one of many nation’s prime specialists on gender and sexuality in regulation, to a crucial Education Department position that may assist form new Title IX insurance policies relating to how faculties and Ok-12 faculties deal with sexual misconduct investigations.
Based on her resume, Goldberg looks as if the proper choose for the position. As deputy assistant secretary for strategic operations and outreach on the Office of Civil Rights, she’s chargeable for overseeing operational planning and outreach between OCR, the general public and stakeholders at faculties and advocacy organizations. But pupil sexual assault survivors from Columbia informed HuffPost they’ve deep issues, based mostly on what they see as Goldberg’s lengthy historical past of neglecting survivors on the college.
“I don’t think there’s a single student at Columbia who would say that Goldberg should have this job,” stated Amelia Roskin-Frazee, a former Columbia pupil who says she was raped twice in 2015 in her dorm room. “It’s so dehumanizing to sexual assault survivors, because it’s not like Goldberg’s conduct is a secret.”
As of January, the Department of Education had 5 open investigations in opposition to Columbia for alleged Title IX violations. All 5 complaints have been filed in opposition to the establishment whereas Goldberg oversaw the Title IX division as the pinnacle of college life. In 2017, additionally throughout Goldberg’s tenure as head of college life, Columbia was tied for second place by way of U.S. universities with the greatest number of open OCR complaints alleging Title IX guideline violations.
Roskin-Frazee and one other former Columbia pupil, Brandee Blocker Anderson, informed HuffPost it was an “open secret” at Columbia that Goldberg actively refused to hearken to pupil advocates, particularly pupil victims of sexual assault. They say Goldberg routinely dismissed victims and labored to guard the Columbia administration over survivors in any respect prices, regardless of her position wherein she oversaw the Title IX workplace and was the special adviser to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger on sexual assault prevention and response.
“Goldberg’s only interest was covering up for the people under her and protecting those above her,” stated Anderson, a Columbia Law School graduate who says she was sexually assaulted in 2015 throughout her first 12 months at regulation college.
Both Roskin-Frazee and Anderson have filed formal complaints with the varsity relating to Goldberg and Columbia’s Title IX workplace. Roskin-Frazee initially filed an OCR criticism in opposition to Columbia and later sued the varsity. Anderson filed an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action criticism particularly in opposition to Goldberg for allegedly not correctly supervising her subordinates and never following Title IX steerage.
When reached for remark, Columbia University referred HuffPost to a letter written by Bollinger to the college group saying Goldberg’s departure for the Education Department. “We could not be more pleased and proud that she has chosen to bring her considerable talents and expertise to Washington, D.C.,” the college president wrote.
Kelly Leon, the press secretary for the Department of Education, informed HuffPost Goldberg “brings decades of experience advocating for sexual assault survivors, implementing and upholding fair processes, and protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ people and other people” to her position on the OCR.
“She is known widely as a compassionate advocate for equity and justice, launched a University-wide Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship program with students, faculty, and staff while at Columbia University, and wrote regularly to students about sexual respect while at the University,” Leon added. “She’s been recognized for her work in making possible one of the nation’s leading study on campus sexual assault and has worked on behalf of students as an educator as a campus leader for over 20 years.”
After HuffPost reached out to Columbia and OCR for touch upon detailed allegations included on this article, Brett Christensen, a third-year Columbia Law School pupil, bought in contact.
“She cares a lot about the students, from my perspective, and she was certainly available,” stated Christensen, a former analysis and educating assistant for Goldberg. “From my perspective, and that’s really all I can speak to, talking to other people certainly at the law school, Professor Goldberg has a great reputation. She’s known as an advocate both for the LGBT community and also for women.”
Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, a present Columbia professor, additionally reached out after HuffPost tried to contact Columbia, OCR and the Education Department for remark.
“What I saw from Suzanne, again and again, was the hard work, intellect and tenacity that she brought to building a campus where everyone can thrive,” stated Hirsch, who has labored carefully with Goldberg on a number of tasks.
Goldberg’s Multiple Roles At Columbia
Goldberg held the celebrated position of govt vp for college life at Columbia from 2015 till this January, when Biden known as her as much as the massive leagues. She boasts a protracted record of accomplishments, together with founding Columbia Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic and receiving the regulation college’s Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In 2008, she was named the regulation college’s Public Interest Faculty of the Year.
As head of college life, Goldberg oversaw pupil life on campus, working “to broaden and reinforce the university’s commitment to respect, inclusion, and ethical leadership among students, faculty, and administrators,” in response to Columbia’s website. In that position, she immediately supervised a number of departments, together with the Title IX workplace.
Goldberg’s position as head of college life was so giant that her job was riddled with conflicts of curiosity, which made it practically unimaginable to carry her accountable for a lot of of her missteps, Roskin-Frazee stated. For instance, Roskin-Frazee stated Goldberg took on an extra position because the Title IX coordinator for a semester in 2016. During that point, Goldberg was nonetheless the pinnacle of college life, which immediately oversaw the Title IX coordinator place Goldberg had assumed for the semester. Bollinger additionally appointed Goldberg to be the foundations administrator, a task that entails disciplining college students, together with pupil activists who have been protesting Goldberg’s conduct.
“I was pretty alarmed to see that she’s now at OCR,” stated Dr. Raymond Givens, an assistant professor of drugs at Columbia and affiliate director of the cardiac intensive care unit at Columbia’s Irving Medical Center.
Givens, who famous that he doesn’t have an intensive quantity of private interplay with Goldberg, added that “it’s extremely concerning that these people have been elevated, and there’s been really no consequences.”
The final individual to carry the place of deputy assistant secretary for strategic operations and outreach at OCR was the lawyer and writer Candice Jackson. Unlike Jackson, who many believed had little expertise to warrant the appointment, Goldberg does have a confirmed file of bridging gaps between establishments, directors and college students on the bottom.
Still, each Roskin-Frazee and Anderson strongly agreed that Goldberg shouldn’t have been appointed to the OCR, given her monitor file with pupil sexual assault survivors at Columbia.
“In my mind, her leading that office is sending out the message that schools will never be accountable because Columbia has never been accountable,” Anderson stated. “How can she hold any other schools accountable when the school that she was in charge of was the worst at helping survivors? It’s a slap in the face.”
Survivors’ Firsthand Experience
The two sexual assault survivors cited private expertise with Goldberg, telling HuffPost she was unavailable to college students and that she implicitly condoned and created dangerous sexual misconduct insurance policies. They stated she usually used her credentials as a queer girl to protect herself from criticism.
Roskin-Frazee, who’s queer, stated she was repeatedly focused for her sexuality by her attacker when she was raped twice within the fall of 2015. When Roskin-Frazee informed Goldberg in regards to the first rape in a closed assembly with different survivors and advocates, she stated Goldberg didn’t formally report the assault, although she was required by the state to take action. When Roskin-Frazee was attacked once more about two months later — doubtless by the identical individual — she stated “Goldberg had absolutely no regrets from what I could tell,” although Goldberg had uncared for to take motion that Roskin-Frazee believes may have stopped the second assault. (Columbia declined to touch upon any particular accusations described on this article.)
“She’s spent years committing and overseeing Title IX violations and doing nothing about it,” Roskin-Frazee stated. “And now she is in charge of enforcing Title IX nationwide while there are open investigations against Columbia. How does that work?”
I do surprise the truth that survivors are seeing this ― what sort of impact Goldberg’s appointment has on their confidence within the system?
Dr. Raymond Givens, assistant professor of drugs at Columbia
Anderson, now 31, informed HuffPost she was assaulted on a Thursday night time in 2015. Directly after, she known as the college’s rape disaster hotline and was placed on maintain for over an hour. On Friday morning, she reached out to a number of departments, together with the regulation college and the Office of Disability Services, however nobody was capable of provide her instant assist. She reached out to Columbia’s counseling service heart to talk with a therapist, however she was informed nobody could be accessible for no less than two weeks.
Finally, she went on to the pinnacle of college life ― Goldberg, who’d been considered one of her professors the semester earlier than. Anderson felt Goldberg was repeatedly unavailable and “dismissive” to her, although she was experiencing an emergency.
“She thought I wanted a hug from her, when I’m explaining that everyone who is supposed to be working for her is not doing their jobs,” Anderson stated via tears. “I don’t want a hug, I want a counselor. I want to be able to go to class and feel safe. But this is how disconnected she is. I’ve been in so many meetings with her where she’s just so cold. There’s no level of humanity, no level of compassion.”
Controversial Policies At Columbia
Goldberg helped create Columbia’s present Gender-Based Misconduct Policy throughout her tenure on the college. Many of the rules carried out within the coverage have been extremely controversial, and each Roskin-Frazee and Anderson fought the coverage modifications throughout their time with No Red Tape, Columbia’s anti-sexual violence group.
There have been a number of damaging provisions written into the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, similar to permitting sexual arousal to be thought of when the varsity was attempting to find out consent, and never classifying it as sexual coercion when one individual threatened to out one other as queer. Additionally, if a sufferer’s assailant had assaulted or harassed folks up to now, the sufferer was not allowed to deliver these folks into the Title IX investigation as witnesses to corroborate a sample of habits. Some of those insurance policies, like not counting a risk to out somebody as sexual coercion, have since been modified attributable to strain from pupil activists.
Goldberg was additionally the architect of a coverage recognized to college students because the recording ban, Roskin-Frazee and Anderson stated. The coverage threatened college students with suspension or expulsion for recording or taking detailed notes throughout their very own Title IX conferences, although it’s authorized to file such conferences in New York state. Roskin-Frazee stated Goldberg defended the ban as a result of recording conferences would “have a chilling effect on proceedings.”
The recording ban was created in September 2016, after Anderson’s Title IX investigation and proper earlier than Roskin-Frazee’s. Anderson believes Goldberg created the coverage as a result of Anderson recorded practically all of her personal Title IX conferences and had proof to show the Title IX workplace actively labored in opposition to her throughout her investigation.
The coverage was so broadly disliked by college students, it marked one of many solely occasions at Columbia that pupil victims and college students accused of assault got here collectively to struggle a campus rule.
She’s spent years committing and overseeing Title IX violations and doing nothing about it. And now she is accountable for imposing Title IX nationwide… How does that work?
Amelia Roskin-Frazee, former Columbia pupil and sexual assault survivor
Givens, the assistant professor of drugs, overlapped a bit with Goldberg final summer season when he was trying to get a Columbia building renamed as a result of the constructing’s namesake was a slaveholder. He stated issues about Goldberg turned very clear as he was speaking to different advocates on campus.
“Talking to current and former students and faculty about some of their experiences, many of whom are sexual assault survivors,” he stated, “the stories are pretty fairly consistent about the administration generally shutting people out and, specifically, Suzanne Goldberg was the agent who makes that happen.”
Givens believes Goldberg will be capable of be extra goal at OCR, he stated, as a result of at Columbia she was tasked with defending Bollinger, the college’s president, “at all costs.” But Givens nonetheless worries what sort of message her appointment sends to sexual assault victims.
“I do wonder the fact that survivors are seeing this ― what kind of effect Goldberg’s appointment has on their confidence in the system?” he stated. “It further undermines their ability to trust that the system is really going to work for them. It becomes a self-reinforcing thing: If people don’t trust the system, they’re less likely to report. And the whole thing falls apart.”
Roskin-Frazee was much less optimistic, imagining what her personal expertise at Columbia would appear to be on the federal degree.
“Who do you go to when the OCR violates your civil rights?” she requested. “I genuinely don’t know if there’s a place to go when that happens. And that’s what’s about to happen to students on a nationwide scale.”
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