The Spirit of Support: Q&A with Jocelyn Watkins

With six years of experience as Bradley University’s clery compliance coordinator and over a decade as BUPD’s office manager, Jocelyn Watkins is no stranger to our campus. Now, she’s stepping into Title IX with an eye for improvement and her ear to the ground. Here, we discuss the future of Bradley’s Title IX efforts, how to get the community involved, and ways to demystify Title IX for the layperson.

Bradley’s new Title IX Coordinator has lots of plans for the future of our campus.

What is Bradley doing right in the Title IX space?

There have been wonderful people across campus who have all, in their own functional ways, been doing Title IX work. That interconnectivity between the departments is hugely beneficial. They already have a good working knowledge of Title IX, so it’s been great to step into this with a wonderful group of people who are already familiar with and passionate about the work.

What are your immediate goals for your role?

I’m getting familiar with the processes Bradley has and seeing how we can improve on them. That's the first goal: to understand where we have been, where we are and how we need to move forward.

I want to clarify Title IX to the campus community in two ways: the first is by going through our current policy, seeing where we can further clarify it so it’s easily understandable and digestible. I also want to demystify the process through outreach and engagement. I want to engage our campus in all possible facets to discuss these issues.

Title IX is very specific and prescriptive, but it's also very broad when you think about the subject matters it encompasses. Gender-based discrimination runs the gamut on everything from equitable programming on campus, to parenting and pregnancy protections, harassments based on gender or gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation and incidents of assault.

When you look at the breadth of what Title IX actually covers, it weaves itself into every facet of the university experience. I hope the more we discuss these issues, the more we can understand them, understand each other and create a better community for us all.

What lessons can the Bradley community take away from the work that you do?

That we’re here and we care. Oftentimes, people who are affected by these kinds of issues feel very alone, and they don’t look to the university as a source of support. But I want the campus community to know that my main goal and my main purpose is to help those who are experiencing these types of issues. There are resources and supportive measures — all kinds of things I can help with — and that’s step one.

Moving forward in any sort of university process is a secondary decision. They don’t have to go hand in hand. I am here first and foremost to help somebody get what they need to feel whole again or as whole as possible. Any sort of process afterward is secondary.

How can members of the Bradley community help make an impact?

I am eager for input. I want people to reach out to me, email me, ask me questions, offer suggestions, observations, ask me to come speak in their classroom, ask me to come speak in their student organization meeting. I want people to engage me.

I think there’s a certain level of confusion on campus about  what Title IX is. But in the same respect, there’s a lot of curiosity and eagerness to do the right thing. There’s just some confusion as to what that right thing is or looks like, and I want people to engage me in those kinds of discussions.

— Jenevieve Rowley-Davis