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Member Spotlight: Laura Rodas

What is a challenge you face doing Title IX work?

Like many professionals who work in Title IX related areas, I have multiple roles and responsibilities. It has been difficult to create a comprehensive approach to Title IX related areas as the bifurcation of roles means not enough dedicated time to any one area. Much of the work tends to be reactive or responsive rather than prevention oriented, though I am glad to report it is starting to change.

What is a successful achievement you have had doing Title IX work?

I’ve expanded awareness throughout my largely non-traditional / commuter institution that individuals who have been subjected to gender based violence and other forms of sex discrimination have a variety of rights (even if situation happened off campus or in the past), and that it is our responsibility to reduce or eliminate institutional barriers that prevent individuals from accessing or continuing to access higher education. This approach has helped students continue in their academic program who otherwise might not persist; supporting students’ access to attain their educational goals is one of the most satisfying parts of this work.

What is an ATIXA resource or tool that has aided you?

There are so many fantastic resources with ATIXA membership and trainings. In-person training years ago (funded in part through an ATIXA scholarship!) was a game-changer for me and helped to set a strong foundation for how I do this work. I’ve turned to the Investigation in a Box many times.

The list-serv is especially helpful as I get to stay connected with and learn from others around the country (especially those who have more frequent cases). Most importantly, ATIXA experts are accessible – it’s incredibly helpful to have direct and clear yet nuanced perspective from some of the best minds in the field… and all the better that a bit of wry wit and humor is thrown in, too.

What is the value of ATIXA membership for you?

I have great confidence in ATIXA resources and staff, and I’m comforted by knowing that I can turn to tools/resources/ATIXA staff and the incredible list-serv should I find myself flummoxed or should I need a sounding board. ATIXA keeps fundamental fairness and due process at the heart of its approach. Their practices are human-centered and build on the premise that doing this work well is incredibly important.

How has ATIXA helped you to be a better professional?

Staying on top of changing regulations and keeping policies updated is important but knowing how to do this work well is paramount. ATIXA provides grounding in best practices which support a thorough, fair process. There are always multiple perspectives and issues to consider, and ATIXA helps in framing out specific approaches that are both respectful and equitable.

What is one way you practice self-care doing such intense work?

I try hard to shut off my computer / email / work at a reasonable time and refrain from checking in on work during non-working hours. It’s important for me to be fairly strict about this as there’s always more work to be done.

What is one piece of advice you would offer your fellow practitioners?

Do your best to approach each situation with neutrality and curiosity while recognizing the innate tendency to write narrative stories to explain what we’re hearing / experiencing / learning… so be careful to check oneself prior to drawing conclusions. Establish thorough and impartial procedures and policies so that even if all parties are unhappy with a particular outcome, one can find solace and satisfaction in having had a fundamentally fair process.