Advocacy vs. Title IX

Chalk drawings by Project SAFE on campus

Advocacy services at Occidental College are provided by the Project SAFE Survivor Advocates Tirzah Blanche (weekdays) and Téresa Mejia (weekends). 

Advocacy services are survivor-centered, trauma-informed and rooted in an empowerment model of helping. Survivors are given tools and resources to make autonomous choices about what feels right to them on their own healing journey. Advocacy services strive to be transparent, supportive, and based in survivor safety, voice and choice.

Advocacy services at Occidental are provided by Project SAFE Survivor Advocate Tirzah Blanche on weekdays and Téresa Mejia on weekends. They are both certified Counselor Advocates in the State of California and confidential resources for any Occidental community member seeking support or consultation on issues of sexual and interpersonal violence. They are available for individual meetings to answer questions, provide support and connect you to other on- and off-campus resources. They can also accompany you to related medical services, legal or law enforcement meetings and Title IX process meetings.

Advocacy Versus Title IX Office

The Survivor Advocates are independent from the Title IX office, which handles the investigation and resolution of complaints of sexual or relationship violence among Occidental community members. The Title IX office is also responsible for holding the College accountable to its federal requirement to address sex and gender-based discrimination.

The Advocates can be a good first step for students who are wondering about the Title IX process. The Advocates can answer questions and provide more information about what the process might look like—without having to report information.

The Project SAFE office does not investigate allegations of violence. The office is a support for survivors and their friends and allies and provides them with resources, including reviewing the Title IX process with them to see if that is something they would want to pursue. Accordingly, there is no disciplinary element to Project SAFE.