Do Better CSU amplifies student voices

Do+Better+CSU+amplifies+student+voices

Collegian | Madelyn Hendricks

Emmalee Krieg , Staff Reporter

Reporting interpersonal violence can be daunting, so having as many outlets and resources as possible is important for the well-being and equality of all students.

Last year, Instagram account @dobettercsu was constructed to give Colorado State University students a platform to share their stories. The account creates a space where students are able to anonymously report instances of gender-based violence and harassment at CSU. 

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“From my understanding, Do Better CSU is really to give voice to students. It’s a chance for people to find some healing and speak up about their experiences on campus.” –Casey Malsam, interim director at the Women and Gender Advocacy Center

The account features slides with short descriptions of encounters regarding gender discrimination, violence and sexual harassment. Each post is anonymous and accompanied by a trigger warning for the information the reader will encounter.

The Instagram page states, “We aim to provide a platform for those who have been harmed and to compel our administration and community to take direct action to end the violence.”

“From my understanding, Do Better CSU is really to give voice to students,” said Casey Malsam, the interim director at the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. “It’s a chance for people to find some healing and speak up about their experiences on campus.”

While the account is not a formal reporting service, it does provide a space for students who are unable or uncomfortable officially sharing their experience with the school.

“The thing I appreciate about accounts like this is they do work to do awareness-raising for folks who may not be able to fully share their story,” Malsam said.

Malsam also emphasized the fact that students have more than one outlet when it comes to reporting. 

“Accounts like Do Better CSU are great at raising awareness, and there are other options that students have that are also anonymous,” Malsam said.

Araiña Muñiz, Title IX coordinator and director for the Office of Title IX Programs and Gender Equity, mentioned privacy within CSU departments.

“We are not confidential, but the WGAC and counseling — the Health (and Medical Center) — those are confidential resources on campus,” Muñiz said.

According to their website, the Title IX office is responsible for “providing support resources and information related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, gender discrimination and gender-based violence related to students, staff and faculty.”

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They are not completely confidential because they are required to share information on a need-to-know basis when it comes to services involved in resolving the disclosed account.

“We try to make it as easy as possible to come in and to meet with us,” Muñiz said. “But we do understand that there are still potential barriers or perceptions of barriers that might exist, and we’re still an official office at the university, so it feels so absolute.” 

Upon filling out a report for the Title IX office, the impacted party will typically receive an email that includes information about Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act, along with options for resolutions.

“We’ll invite that impacted party in for an informational meeting,” Muñiz said. “And really what we would like to do is begin the process.”

Muñiz mentioned the impacted party can simply stop reporting the incident and go on to discuss supportive measures. However, they also have the option for informal resolution, which includes restorative conferencing or voluntary resolution agreements. Students may also choose a formal investigation through which they can seek disciplinary action with allegations.

Offices such as the Title IX office and WGAC can create options for students regarding how they want to handle an incident, and Do Better CSU can create recognition and potentially uncover mutual experiences.  

“It’s a useful tool for folks to do some awareness raising and really to hold systems accountable for the ways in which those systems impact folks who have had adverse or traumatic experiences,” Malsam said.

You can learn more about the account on Instagram @dobettercsu.

 Reach Emmalee Krieg at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.