Miguel A. Pereira III Brings Fresh Perspective to York College as its Title IX Coordinator
The longtime advocate for survivors of sexual assault and against discrimination is helping students enjoy a safe and inclusive college experience.
In January, York College of Pennsylvania welcomed Miguel A. Pereira III as its Title IX Coordinator. He will be responsible for overseeing compliance with Title IX regulations, which prohibit gender-based discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding.
“Basically, everybody is entitled to the same education regardless of how they identify,” Pereira says.
Pereira came to York College with extensive experience in the field of compliance with Title IX and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies. He is working toward a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration at Brenau University, which he hopes to complete in May 2024. He earned a master’s degree in Creative Problem Solving from the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo State.
The master’s program helped Pereira gain a broader understanding of people across various demographics. His courses brought him to the realization that he was interested in working in higher education.
“It’s a very unique degree,” he says. “I was able to understand people more.”
While working as a Village Community Director at SUNY Oswego, Pereira developed a love for Title IX. In July 2020, he became an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Counselor at the SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Morrisville. After about a year, he was named Coordinator for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Title IX.
Still early in his career, Pereira has demonstrated a deep commitment to supporting survivors of sexual misconduct and fostering a culture of respect and inclusion on college campuses. While at SUNY Morrisville, he created an ongoing speaker series about DEI. He provided training and education to students, faculty, and staff on issues related to Title IX, sexual harassment, and sexual assault prevention.
While his position at SUNY Morrisville allowed him to create a unique DEI program, Pereira began looking for a situation that would allow him to focus solely on Title IX issues.
“I didn’t want to split between two jobs anymore,” he says. “I believe that they both deserve their spotlight.”
Pereira found York College and loved its small-school feel and welcoming atmosphere. After only two months on the job, he believes he has learned a lot and that people readily share insights, information, and accountability.
“I’ve had really, really good partnerships with a lot of different offices here,” he says.
Pereira’s focus is student-centric as he continues to build a safe community where individuals from all backgrounds and identities can thrive.
Title IX has had a significant impact on higher education since it was enacted in 1972. Before then, women often were denied access to educational opportunities in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math. They also faced sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based discrimination on college campuses and in athletics.
Title IX has helped level the playing field by ensuring that women have the same opportunities as men to pursue educational and career goals.
In addition to promoting gender equality in education, Title IX is important at colleges because it helps create a safe and inclusive learning environment. Title IX requires colleges to respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and other forms of gender-based violence. This includes providing support and resources to survivors and taking steps to prevent such incidents.
For Pereira, the role of Title IX Coordinator goes beyond a profession. Its importance is personal. Shortly before coming to York College, he met his birth family for the first time. His birth resulted from a sexual assault, and his mother gave him up for adoption when he was a toddler. In addition, he and a family member had been assaulted on a campus. On his watch, he hopes to help others avoid such problems.
“That made me become a better professional to where students come in and the compassion part of not treating every case the same. Treating every case with compassion and care with listening ears, I think, is key, but no two cases are ever the same,” Pereira says.
Promoting a culture of respect
As Title IX Coordinator, Pereira will work closely with students, faculty, and staff to ensure that the College provides a safe and supportive learning environment for all. He will be responsible for investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based discrimination. He will work to develop and implement policies and procedures that promote compliance with Title IX regulations.
Pereira has spent his first couple of months attending Residence Life events, getting to know students, and hosting prevention conversations. He is excited to join the York College community and bring his expertise and passion for Title IX to campus, helping ensure that all students can thrive and succeed.
“For anybody that has things under the realm of Title IX, our doors are always open.” Pereira says. “You’re not alone.”