Humboldt State University has hired Tiwana Barnes, J.D, as the new Title IX coordinator for HSU. As a federally funded institution, HSU has an obligation under the Title IX law to protect its students and faculty from sexual violence on its premises.
In addition, Title IX covers discrimination students and faculty may face on the basis of their sex or stated gender identity. The law also mandates HSU to have a Title IX coordinator on campus to investigate reported cases.
Barnes is a New York City native who started her undergrad at Spelman, a historically Black College in Atlanta. During her first year she wanted to be closer to her support system back home so she began to look into other universities.
“When I put in my transfer papers, NYU offered me a partial scholarship. So it was back home for me,” said Barnes.
At NYU Barnes majored in psychology and minored in African-American studies. Upon graduation, she attended Touro Law school also located in New York.
Barnes was offered a job to investigate allegations of discrimination for New York City schools when she graduated law school in 2012.
“I dealt with allegations based on race, gender, sexual harassment, national origin, everything,” Barnes relayed.
“It was a really good job and that is how I got into investigations.”
Barnes always knew that she wanted to live in California and eventually work at the university level because she had a desire to help students. This is what led her to apply for the Title IX position at HSU, without any prior knowledge of the area.
“When I first got to Humboldt I was like, this is California?” says Barnes jokingly when asked about her initial thoughts of the area.
For Barnes, the transition into the area was difficult at first due to issues such as housing discrimination and trying to find an apartment that was suitable.
Barnes says that despite her initial problems, she has met some amazing people and students during her time at HSU.
Barnes is driven by her desire to help others and the determination to achieve the goals she has set for herself.
Success to Barnes does not lie in material possessions but in the positive impact that she can have on society.
Barnes is here to help you as a student or faculty and her office is located in Siemens Hall 215.
It is ok if you do not want to press charges or open an investigation against your perpetrator.
As the Title IX coordinator, Barnes can assist you on gaining no contact orders which prohibits your perpetrator from coming into contact with you.
If you require services such as counseling or tutoring because your experience of sexualized violence or discrimination has hindered your performance in school, the university is required to provide these services to you free of cost.
Experiencing sexualized violence and discrimination based on your gender is not something that anyone should have to endure. However, since this is something of issue in our society, hopefully Title IX can be of some comfort to those who face this reality.
(Previously published in HSU’s campus newspaper The Lumberjack 2016)