Allegheny Student Government officially swears in Ferrante as new chief of staff, welcomes Ford, Dukes and Thompson to meeting


ASG welcomes Ford to give presentation onTitle IX.

Allegheny Student Government’s meeting was busy with activity as it swore in its new chief of staff, discussed esports coming to Allegheny and received a presentation on Title IX.

Gilly Ford, Title IX coordinator, Kristin Dukes, dean for institutional diversity, and April Thompson, dean of students, came to ASG’s general assembly meeting to deliver a report on Title IX and the role it plays on Allegheny’s campus.

Ford was the main presenter of the three, providing clarity on what exactly the Title IX office does and what the Title IX law covers on campus when it comes to issues of discrimination and sexual harassment.

“(Title IX) covers a broad base, but we do talk about sexual violence most often,”  Ford said. “And when we think of sexual harassment within our policies, we think of any unwelcome — and that unwelcomeness is very important — any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any other unwelcome verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature.”

Ford expanded on her role as Title IX coordinator, explaining Allegheny is lucky because not every college campus is required to have a coordinator to assist students through the Title IX process. Adding that she does not work alone, Ford said Jennifer Mangus, director of human resources and Mandy Prusia, associate director of athletics for compliance and operations, the deputy coordinators, assist her in taking incident reports.

Ford’s presentation included information about the differences between sexual harassment, discriminatory harassment and sexual assault — three main issues students are protected from through Title IX.

Students can file a complaint in two ways: informally or formally. Each process assures all parties equal protection and access to information, making sure that each party is informed of the final outcome after a complaint has been filed.

Ford discussed some confusion she thinks is associated with the Title IX office and the reporting process.

“One of the things that I learned last year is that there seemed to be some confusion about my role,” Ford said. “There was some confusion among students, they were seeing  my office as the rape crisis office perhaps, or victim advocacy. My role is really to focus on policy and to be a neutral party.”

After the presentation concluded, Dukes distributed a handout which outlined how the Title IX office responds on issues of bias and discrimination.

“It also outlines what our guidelines are for notifying the community about these incidents,” Dukes said. “Some feedback I’ve been getting from students is that they want more detail. Again, this handout gives the guidelines we use to determine when that notification is sent out to the rest of the community.”

ASG officially swore in Jason Ferrante, ’20, as the new chief of staff at its meeting Tuesday. ASG chose Ferrante for the role after mutual agreement that he was the best senator for the job. The previous chief of staff, John Fazio, ’19, announced his resignation at the Oct. 30 meeting.

Ferrante has already embraced the aspects of his  new role, including beginning to run the College Committees Council, which Ferrante said was one responsibility he was excited to begin.

“We have some stuff that we’ve already hit the ground running on,” Ferrante said. “We have some vacancies on our College Committees Council that urgently need to be filled.”

Ferrante encouraged ASG members to help recruit people they think would be fit to fill the roles available on the committees.

ASG received one constitution at its meeting from students wanting to establish an esports team on campus. The constitution was presented to ASG, and after a lengthy discussion about aspects in the constitution that needed to be changed, senators voted to table it for a later meeting giving the students time to revise and clarify these aspects, and to bring it back to ASG.

During the cabinet reports, an announcement was made about a planned revival of an event called Winterfest.

“(Winterfest) was between Wingfest and Springfest,” said Camila Gomez, 20’19, ASG president, “I have pitched the idea (of another revival) to the Major Events Committee, the ones who put on Springfest and Blue and Gold Weekend. So we’re going to do Winterfest for real as a joint event with GAP.”

Gomez said Winterfest should take place sometime in February or March 2018.

Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Education Gretchen Beck, who also serves as ASG adviser, ended the meeting with a few reminders for the senators which included the Thanksgiving break shuttle, the campus master plan committee meeting and that ASG will not be holding its general assembly meeting next week because of Thanksgiving Break. ASG’s next general assembly meeting will take place on Nov. 27.