Balance privacy, transparency

Students should expect a Title IX education, not personal details


Art by Mayher Kaur

Transparency. It has pervaded many student critiques of the administration, and there’s still a long way to go before the school reaches an acceptable standard. The hiring of new Title IX coordinator Elizabeth Noel requires the student body to balance our desire for transparency with understanding of legally mandated confidentiality.

Title IX has a lot of moving parts as a piece of national legislation, but one of the main themes is confidentiality. It is legally mandated that Ms. Noel cannot tell students the details of any issue she needs to resolve. Don’t forget that this is to protect you. A victim of sexual harassment has the right to say they don’t want everyone knowing, and someone who has been accused should not be outed in front of the school. Even after accusations are confirmed, neither side should have their private life exposed to the public.

The student body needs to understand the legal restrictions set by Title IX. It can be frustrating to feel like major changes are happening with no student input, but it’s ultimately to protect Lab students. With that said, there are boundaries on what can be kept secret. Legal mandates are not a catch-all excuse to keep every action secret from the student body. If any change is made that affects more people than just those involved in the incident, the students deserve to know.

“ We can’t ask for intensely personal details, but it should not be too much to ask that we are made aware if there are issues our community needs to resolve.”

For instance, school-wide assemblies addressing instances have been spun as nothing more than another assembly in the past. We don’t need to know the entirety of the situation, but the fact that there’s a real problem should be mentioned. It’s fair to withhold details and names to maintain privacy. It’s egregious to work entirely in secret, with no student ability to advocate for a better path.

Just as we must be understanding of the administration, they need to understand our desire for transparency. Our students value discussion and openness, and Ms. Noel should endeavor to serve as not only an advocate for students but also a conduit of information about the general issues in our school that need addressing, such as specific education practices being implemented and what situations these are supposed to help us avoid. In order for her work to be effective, Ms. Noel must convey the problems to the students and provide solutions. Again, we can’t ask for intensely personal details, but it should not be too much to ask that we are made aware if there are issues our community needs to resolve. It’s easy to get caught up with maintaining Lab’s image, but for the ideals of Title IX to be fulfilled we need a coordinator who places students first, and lets us know what we’re being protected from.

This editorial represents the opinion of the Midway’s Editorial Board.