Jing Jang/Sun File Photo

The Employee Assembly meet via Zoom to discuss several initiatives.

March 16, 2023

Employee Assembly Receives Title IX Presentation, Discusses Steps to Appointing an On-Campus Gynecologist

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The Employee Assembly convened on Wednesday to receive a presentation from the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX and deliberate the necessary actions toward appointing an M.D. gynecologist at Cornell Health after President Martha Pollack rejected Student Assembly’s Resolution 15.

During the EA meeting, the OIETIX informed members on the range of resources and support available to those who may have experienced sexual misconduct or discrimination.

The OIETIX is in charge of handling all bias incidents, sexual and related misconduct, discrimination and protected-status harassment through a combination of analysis and resolution. Students and staff can report incidents via an online form, which is then reviewed by the OIETIX. After determining the scope of the situation and involving all the appropriate parties, a solution is administered. Throughout this process, affected individuals may choose to receive various forms of support, such as escort services, academic accommodations, counseling, medical services and housing arrangements.

The OIETIX explained that they may share an individual’s information with other offices if necessary. 

“In the instance of employees, we’ll share some information with human resources [or] other University officials, really on a need-to-know basis,” said Catherine Muskin, the deputy Title IX coordinator. “With respect to addressing a perceived hostile environment, we might reach out to HR and try to understand [if there have] been other reports like this, what’s the general history going on [and] what kind of environment is [occurring].”

However, the OIETIX acknowledges that some individuals may still feel uneasy about sharing their personal information and strives to handle all reports with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.

To those concerned about the privacy of their information, the Associate Vice President of OIETIX Laura Rugless highlighted the care with which reports are treated. 

“This necessary sharing part is such an important part of what we can do once we get information in our office, and it goes beyond just sharing information but really coordinating with other offices,” Rugless said. “I just want to assure people that we are doing everything possible to triage these as quickly as possible and involve appropriate offices without oversharing.”

Following the presentation, the EA discussed the next steps to bringing an M.D. gynecologist to Cornell.

On Friday, Feb. 10, Pollack expressed that she did not support the Student Assembly’s Resolution 15, which requested University funding for an on-campus M.D. gynecologist at Cornell Health. 

If all five branches of the Cornell University Assemblies vote in favor of the resolution, it will automatically go in front of the Board of Trustees, according to Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator for facilities Nadrea Haenlin Mott.

All assemblies besides the Employee Assembly have already voted in favor of the resolution.

Although members of the Employee Assembly expressed that they were eager to see a quick verdict on the resolution, bureaucratic procedures slowed down the process. 

“So what is the next step?” Michelle LoParco, event manager and finance coordinator at Cornell Law School, who is also an Employee Assembly member, asked. “Can we not just vote on supporting the resolution today?”

Haenlin-Mott stated that the EA may be considering a resolution supporting the institution of a permanent OB-GYN at Cornell Health at a later date.

“[The resolution] has to go through the whole process and it has to be entered to the EA from a committee, that committee being the Employee Welfare Committee,” Haenlin-Mott said. “And that’s the process — it’s got to go through committee, they’ll present it to the EA, and then we’ll have all of the steps associated with bringing the resolution forward.”

Aaron Zhu is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected]