Student Life Editor
Lonnie Allbaugh seems eager to dive into in his new position, as Title IX coordinator.
The 46-year-old gave me a warm smile as he fervently explained his excitement and gratitude for the new job. Although he did his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburg, before attending law school in Delaware, Allbaugh lived in Stroudsburg for 15 years.
He settled into a new yet familiar work area as ESU’s new Title IX coordinator since he previously worked in investigating federal sexual discrimination and harassment complaints.
Allbaugh shared the nature of his job in relation to providing additional safety on campus, mentioning his role as a father of two children, one a freshman and one a junior in high school, as motivational aspect.
“I am so looking forward to this because I’m on a college campus,” he said. “I get to work with students and I get to work with them when it can be a very difficult time… I have a real passion to make sure that the university provides them with the absolute best educational experience they can have.”
The job requires him to investigate cases on campus that may violate the policies of sexual assault, harassment, and any other instances.
His position will involve working closely with students, which is a slight shift for Allbaugh since he usually worked with employees as the director of Employee and Labor Relations and Workforce Diversity since January 2016.
Each case is heavily reviewed, keeping in mind that the obligation is to stop current and prevent future violations. However, extending help for both the accuser and the accused are important as Allbaugh explained.
Bystander intervention will be a major idea in his campus training. This encouraged everyone to act promptly and report any Title IX violations.
Allbaugh says he is especially excited about a new feature that will help him with each case. A special group of deputy Title IX officers has been selected to assist research on each Title IX claim.
Allbaugh has personally trained all five officers: Melissa Ciment, Assistant Director of Student Engagement; Asia Wright, Assistant Director of Campus Rec and Wellness, Jeff Hotz, Chair of the English Department; Amy Freeman, Director, Health & Wellness and Justin Amann, Assistant to the Provost to facilitate plans on handling cases.
Sexual assaults tend to increase early in the semester, a period known as the Red Zone (more rapidly among new and freshman students). resident visitation hours. Now, students are allowed to have guests spend a max of three nights on any day of the week.
“I don’t think we have a great way of tracking visitors on campus,” he said. “I think we should keep their ID’s until they leave.”
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 11.2 percent of all students, undergraduate and graduate, experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
“If we can get them through a tough time and provide support for a student who has been victimized and provides some restorative justice for the person who committed that offense and moves forward, I’m in a great [position] to do that,” said Allbaugh.
Because of his previous position, Allbaugh developed a strong relationship with the faculty. He plans to leverage those relationships as well as utilizing the support systems on campus. This includes daily interaction with Laura Suites, the Coordinator, and Wellness Education & Prevention. He currently meets with William Parrish, Chief of Police regularly.
A few students have already had the chance to meet Allbaugh.
“He was really able to break down any questions we had about Title IX. He said it’s too important of a topic and sometimes it gets pushed under the carpet. He was definitely approachable,” said Resident Assistant, Amanda Suydam
There is a possibility that later in September new Title IX regulations will be released. New Title IX guidelines will ensure the rights of both parties, allowing cross-examination as a tool for the accused. Until the changes are official, Allbaugh remains ready and optimistic.