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Title IX candidate discusses proposed awareness plan

Mizzou Columns
David Chicopham

The University of Missouri hosted an open forum Wednesday for one of the four candidates for the new Title IX Administrator position. Students, faculty and staff were invited to attend and ask questions to candidate Joe Gilgour. At the forum, Gilgour discussed his seven years of experience working as the Title IX coordinator at State Fair Community College and how it relates to this position at MU. Gilgour also serves as the Dean of Student and Academic Support Services at State Fair Community College.

Gilgour said one of the challenges working as a Title IX coordinator is the difficulty of measuring success in preventing sexual assault. He said instead of trying to measure success, the public should focus on looking at the types of responses the university takes in these situations.

”Title IX really has three things to it. You stop the behavior, prevent it from happening again, and you help the victim. Those are your three things you really need to do and if you can show you’ve done those, then that to me is success,” Gilgour said.

Suzanne Burgoyne, a theater professor at the University of Missouri, said she attended the open forum to talk to Gilgour about new ideas on educating the university about sexual assault. She said as a victim of sexual assault, she wants the new position to promote new and interactive ways to bring awareness to these issues.

“I didn’t tell anybody for about 15 years because somehow, even though I knew better, I thought it was all my fault. And so I want somebody who is going to come in here and help us address those core issues for women as well as for men about how we think about rape,” Burgoyne said.

Burgoyne said she is interested in using participatory theater to not only bring awareness of sexual assault but to educate and show people how to communicate with others on this topic.  Gilgour has a degree in theater and Burgoyne said this drew her to the forum as well because of their shared interests. She said her ideal candidate is someone who will attack this problem at its cultural roots.

The three remaining candidates will also participate in open forums within the next few weeks. In addition to the open forum, the candidates will meet with the search committee, Chancellor Loftin, the Faculty Council Executive Committee, the interim Title IX coordinator, the Title IX deputies, MUPD and student leaders.

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