When Ew Quimbaya-Winship received his master’s degree in theater from Missouri State University, he had no idea he’d end up in a career related to sexual assault.
“I don’t think my intention when I first got started was to make sexual assault my focus, but it’s something I did find a passion in,” he said.
Starting March 11, Quimbaya-Winship will serve as UNC’s deputy Title IX officer, or student complaint coordinator, meaning he will be the initial contact for sexual assault victims on campus.
His appointment is part of UNC’s larger effort to improve the relationship between the University and sexual assault victims after three students, one former student and one former administrator filed a complaint UNC of improperly handling sexual assault cases.
Quimbaya-Winship’s first glimpse into the world of sexual violence occurred as a graduate student, when he became involved with a program that used theater to promote awareness about issues including sexual violence.
“I get it, I can communicate the issues,” he said. “I’ve been told by audience members that they really understand what I have to say.”
Quimbaya-Winship has most recently worked at Warren Wilson College in Asheville as Title IX coordinator, organizing outreach efforts to make students, faculty and staff aware of the need to support and respect victims of sexual assault.
“Sexual assault is one of the dumbest crimes on the planet — it should not exist,” he said. “We can stop it, so why not educate people?”
He applied for a position in UNC’s Counseling and Wellness Services a few years ago, and he said he said he admired UNC’s atmosphere when he came for an interview.
And when the Title IX officer position became available, he said, he wanted to bring his expertise to campus.
He said he doesn’t have any specific plans for the position yet because he first wants to get feedback about what needs to be addressed.
“I don’t want to say, ‘This is my agenda,’ until I hear what’s going on,” he said.
Andrea Pino, the only undergraduate on the search committee for the position and one of the students who filed the complaint, said she felt confident speaking to him about sexual assault issues and believes that he will help bring student voices to the table.
“(Quimbaya-Winship) may be the first administrator to tackle these problems head on and include students in the discussion,” she said.
Quimbaya-Winship said the transition from Warren Wilson, with about 1,000 students, might be challenging, but he is ready.
“UNC is a bigger campus, but I’ve been doing work (at Warren Wilson) that translates on a larger scale,” he said.
MaggieMae Farthing, a senior at Warren Wilson who has worked with Quimbaya-Winship, said his honest and approachable personality will be an asset to UNC.
“If something isn’t working, he’s going to tell you, ‘This isn’t working at all, but we’re going to fix it’,” she said.
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