Florida State University’s World Affairs Program is intended to promote an increased awareness of the global community and encourage personal and professional growth among those who participate in the program. However, sources tell The Collegian and other publications that a series of Title IX complaints have recently plagued the organization.
Title IX, a federal civil rights law enacted in 1972, is designed to prevent sex-based discrimination at educational institutions that receive public funding. Publications such as the Tallahassee Democrat have acknowledged the Title IX investigation into this program, which has been open since August.
“Throughout my time in the club, there were innumerable instances of discrimination against members and officers,” a member of the World Affairs Program, who prefers to remain anonymous, toldThe Collegian.
Holding a prestigious top-ten national ranking above universities like Yale and Harvard, Florida State’s Model United Nations (MUN) delegates, who are trained within the World Affairs Program, have the opportunity to travel around the country in order to participate in debates.
Meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays for workshops and general meetings, MUN delegates act out simulations as national ambassadors to propose possible solutions for global political problems.
On a phone call reported by the Tallahassee Democrat, the Florida State senior who previously filed the report in September said that “the power dynamics in the club were always things that could be held over somebody’s head.”
The student also commented that those in the World Affairs Program have a “history of sleeping [their] way to the top.”
On the opposing side of the previous claim made by the unknown seniors, are members of the program who believe that these claims are false. Many in the World Affairs Program believe anonymous students are taking advantage of the Title IX process to give unfounded allegations the veneer of legitimacy.
The grievances were officially filed via both the university’s Title IX Office and the Office of Investigations and Assessment. The student initially accused of misconduct is no longer at Florida State, a spokesperson for the university clarified.
Given there are additional accusations regarding misconduct in the World Affairs Program (WAP) unrelated to Title IX, the Florida State Office of Investigations will investigate these, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
“Although portions of what you have reported are sexual in nature and may be covered by Title IX, some of the information would be more appropriately evaluated by the Office of Investigations and Assessment in the Department of Student Support and Transitions,” Tricia Buchholz coordinator and director of Florida State’s Title IX office, told the Tallahassee Democrat.
Possible outcomes of the Title IX investigation at Florida State University include club-wide policy changes and discipline for individual students, including suspensions or expulsions.