Maria Kanger, second from right, and SGA President Sam Varie, far right, pose with students after a meeting this past summer. Photo courtesy SGA Student Body President Twitter.
Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. The Butler Collegian is exploring the impact of these 98 seconds on a college campus. This is the first installment of several articles that aim to educate the community about sexual misconduct from all angles. We are committed to approaching this sensitive subject matter with the objectives to inform, respect, and empower.
MARRIAH MCKILLOP | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Kanger is a woman of many titles: owner of a dog named Lucy, Notre Dame alumni, lunchtime yoga fanatic and her newest title: Title IX coordinator of Butler University.
Kanger arrived on campus in June amidst changes to Butler’s Division of Student Affairs. After the departure of former Title IX coordinator Jamie Brennan in May, Kanger stepped in to take on the role of addressing sexual misconduct in the Butler community.
Kanger said her passion for serving others is what drives her work as Butler’s new Title IX coordinator.
“I value being of service to others in any way I can,” Kanger said. “I really appreciate the strong community at Butler and the opportunity to contribute to it positively.”
With experience in not only the Indianapolis community but also at small universities, Kanger said she is excited to be a part of Butler. Because Kanger has experience with smaller schools, she said she appreciates the unique sense of community they have to offer. Prior to Butler, Kanger was the associate director of student conduct at IUPUI. She has been in Indy for the past four years and said she has really come to love the Indy community as well.
Kanger on a day-to-day basis:
Kanger’s schedule each day heavily depends on what is needed of her. Although no two days look the same in the job, Kanger said she remains readily available to communicate with students, faculty and staff in need of her assistance.
“I spend a great deal of time on outreach and training, on topics like appropriate response to disclosures of sexual misconduct,” Kanger said. “I also may meet with students who have experienced sexual misconduct to give them information about the rights options and resources available to them.”
Kanger also said she takes into consideration the importance of her job each day. Although she said she believes there are challenges to every job, she there are unique challenges to being a Title IX coordinator.
“One challenge of the work is staying on top of case law and other compliance matters,” Kanger said. “Another challenge is making sure we’re communicating well and getting important information out to the whole community.”
Kanger’s Goals for the University:
Upon starting this position, Kanger said she was open to hearing the opinions and suggestions people had to improve how Butler addresses sexual misconduct. One of Kanger’s biggest goals is to develop better communication across the entire community.
”One thing that I have heard from faculty, staff and students is the need for clearer and better communication,” Kanger said. “My goal for the Butler community is to work to get more information out so that everyone understands the steps we are taking to respond to sexual misconduct, along with the steps we are taking on the prevention side of things.”
In efforts to better communicate with the community, Kanger worked with Sarah Diaz, who recently left the school to pursue a job with Girls Inc., and the marketing communications department to launch a new sexual misconduct website as a resource for faculty, staff and students.
“We wanted to develop a one-stop shop for students,” Kanger said. “This website provides information about confidential resources, who do not have an obligation to report, what happens if students do decide to report, and even policy ‘cliff notes’ that better explain Butler’s policy. It is set up so that students can better understand key points of the policies and processes.”
The website is designed so that students have no trouble navigating how to use it.
“We tried to make it as comprehensive as we can,” Kanger said.
The website also includes a special feature that ensures student’s safety. No matter what part of the website someone is on, they are able to click a button and safely exit if they ever feel like they are in danger.
Additionally, the website has an online report form that will go to the Title IX coordinator. Kanger receives these reports and then emails the student, giving them all the information they need on rights, options, resources available and the opportunity to meet with her.
Team Title IX: What Resources Do Students Have?
“The work that is done in sexual misconduct on this campus cannot be done by just one person. There are so many areas that everyone can be involved in,” Kanger said. “I encourage anyone to reach out to me about ways to get involved in preventing sexual misconduct on campus.”
Butler’s sexual misconduct website provides confidential on-and off-campus resources for students who have experienced sexual misconduct. The Office of the Title IX coordinator Twitter account provides information about the resources for student on campus. From free counseling at the HRC to utilizing pastoral counseling through the Center for Faith and Vocation located in the Blue House, Kanger said there are many staff members across campus available to support students and provide resources.
In order to learn more about how sexual misconduct is addressed in the Butler community, follow the Twitter account @butlertixcoord. From tweeting about how different organizations are making a difference to notifying students about workshops available on campus in regards to sexual misconduct, the Twitter account is also a way to receive news from Kanger.