SUPPORTING HER: How Standing With You Fellow Kristen Cooper Created a Title IX Pregnancy Page at Florida State University 

Kristen Cooper - 23 May 2024

My name is Kristen Cooper, a student at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee who loves protecting life and supporting women in their pregnancy. Over the past few years, my SFLA group noticed that FSU didn’t have a policy for pregnant students. I wanted to be a part of the change, so I made a big step and applied to the Standing With You Fellowship, which equips students to support pregnant moms on their campuses.  

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From there, I started my fellowship project to persuade the FSU administration to create a webpage explaining how Title IX protects pregnant students. Having a Title IX pregnancy page informs pregnant students about their protection from discrimination and how the university can help them. If pregnant students have professors who refuse to work with them, a quick online search lets them know who to contact for help.   

READ: How YOU Can Help Pregnant Students Using Title IX 

I, along with my group, experienced this first-hand with pregnant students. I emailed our Title IX director and explained the situations we knew of pregnant students who didn’t know their Title IX rights – one student was afraid that she would be kicked out of the dorms for being pregnant.  

The Title IX director agreed to meet with a few of our group members. I brought two of my peers, and after we explained our concerns to her, she informed us that the department would love to create a webpage and welcomed further input.   

Over the next few months, we had three more meetings with staff from the Title IX Department and the Office of Accessibility. We showed them examples of other universities’ pregnancy web pages that we liked, and they also did some of their research. Ultimately, the Title IX Department created a pregnancy page based on these examples. The page also includes a form pregnant students can fill out to meet with the Title IX department about potential accommodation. 

Meeting with school officials can seem scary, but the results are worth it. The Title IX staff at Florida State University were so helpful, and it’s nice to have a working relationship with them. This summer, the Title IX director plans to compile a list of on-campus lactation rooms to add to the webpage. We have also discussed ways pregnant mothers can access better campus parking. After all, Florida is hot, and no one wants pregnant moms to walk extra distance in 90-degree weather.   

I loved being a Standing With You Fellow. The fellowship taught me how to foster meaningful conversations with school officials and gave me the courage to facilitate much-needed change.

Pregnant students no longer need to wonder what to do if they need assistance on campus. It only takes a quick online search to learn they are protected and can reach out if needed. I’m so grateful to the other Standing With You Fellows for inspiring me with their projects and my club members for attending every meeting with me. I couldn’t have done it without them.   

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