Student Association hears from student leaders speaking out about SOE iPad requirement


Student Association logo. Image obtained from the UWL Student Association Facebook Page.

Easton Moberg, Student Government Reporter

On Wednesday, April 19, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) met with the Director of Title IX and Compliance Charissa Jakusz, and had two members of the student body speak on a resolution about the School of Education (SOE) iPad requirement.

Jakusz opened the meeting by saying “Title IX is 37 words long and states ‘no person in the United States shall, under the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.’”

Jakusz explained that universities are held accountable for the regulation, as opposed to individuals that violate Title IX. Jakusz continued by saying that “historically, it allowed women to attend higher education, it also provided funding for women in athletics, and it prohibited discrimination against pregnant or expecting parents so that they had the right to their education.”

“In 2000, the Courts agreed that it [Title IX] also covered sexual misconduct. So that is where we get to the present day understanding of if someone has experienced sexual harm, sexual violence, that they can file grievances with Title IX,” Jakusz said.

Jakusz continued, “We have a number of mandatory reporters, but we also have a handful of folks that are confidential on campus, so our counseling staff, our health center, and a few others sprinkled around campus.”

Jakusz also spoke about Blythe McConaughey, the violence prevention specialist. McConaughey is one of the confidential resources on campus and her office is located in room 149B Graff Main Hall.

Jakusz said, “In 2020, when the Trump administration took office, the regulations changed…It made the overall bar for Title IX related violations much higher. What we are seeing now is that the Biden administration has been working on some proposed changes. Basically, what they are saying is that you cannot ban someone based on their identity across the board… You have to individually assess the request to play on a specific team, looking at the safety factor, and looking at the harm if you were to deny the access to play on a team that they are requesting.”

Jakusz continued, “We are expecting that there are going to be a few changes, the inclusion of gender identity, so you can no longer be discriminated against on the basis of your gender identity or sexual orientation… we are anticipating that it will no longer require people to go to a hearing… allowing for more informal resolutions.”

During the general student body open forum, Jake Williams spoke on the SOE iPad requirement. Williams said, “I am here in support of SA2223-054, for those who have not been around or involved in the struggle. This is an issue for SOE students that has been going on for multiple years, but for the last year and a half, students have been taking more direct action. It is only now that an actionable resolution has been put forth in front of this body, and so I would like to see an actionable thing. This is something that can actually shift the needle.”

Williams continued, “The second issue that I would like to bring up in terms of transparency and election results… as a member of the public, I do not have access to the resolution. I do not know what resolutions you are voting on except for the resolution names… The student body does not have the full election results of the previous election. It has been over a week… I do not know how many votes they have, the percentage, or anything… So, going forward the body should consider looking into updating or amending the election results because I do not know who my representatives are next year, and that is pretty scary.”

Next, Cassie Hembrook also spoke regarding the SOE iPad requirement. Hembrook said, “I am a previous student here, and I just transferred to Viterbo for all the reasons that have been going on in the SOE…As a Viterbo student, we have no iPad requirement, I have spoken with professors about this and we have come to the agreement that everything that a teaches does can be done with a laptop… Every placement that I have been in has required Chromebooks for classes. There have been no iPads in sight unless a student has bought it previously.”

During announcements, College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Humanities (CASSH) Senator Hose said, “This past year I served as the first student representative for the League of Women Voters in the La Crosse area. I represent UWL specifically, but they are looking to broaden that. They have changed it now to two positions… Great position, it is unpaid, and it is a really great non-partisan resume booster… No matter what kind of career field you are looking to go into employers really like this position because it shows that you are active in your community, you’re engaging, and you’re working on those critical skills that are important in any field… It is a great group of people, and it is not just women, men can apply too… I loved my job, and I learned a lot from it, and you get to meet a lot of cool people in the community.”

Sustainability Director Lopez-Johnson said, “On April 25, there will be a menstrual products drive from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the Student Union. It will collect menstrual products, tampons, pads, pregnancy tests, and money. All the donations will be given to New Horizons to distribute to the La Crosse homeless population.”