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Cleveland Institute of Music students meeting to discuss Title IX investigation

A student walks in front of the Cleveland Institute of Music
Annie Wu
Ideastream Public Media
An email from the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Title IX director assured students that there would be no retaliation for coming forward as part of the investigation. But that’s been an ongoing concern according to the school’s graduate student liaison.

As the Cleveland Institute of Music conducts a Title IX investigation into allegedly inappropriate behavior by a professor, students are meeting Friday to discuss next steps.

While the school declined to comment on the investigation into CIM Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, an email sent to students last week assured that there would be no retaliation or academic consequences for anyone coming forward with information. That’s been an ongoing concern for student government, according to Sol Rizzato, a second-year master's student who serves as the liaison between grad students and CIM administration.

"I feel like this Title IX hearing is only a surface perspective of something that is going on much greater on an institutional level,” he said. “In terms of students feeling like they couldn't make reports, students feeling like - and faculty feeling like - they were on thin ice."

With the semester ending this month, Rizzato said the student body plans to meet and create a succession plan and ensure people feel comfortable raising concerns.

“I'm going to go over with them the federal Title IX rights, what their rights are, like, First Amendment rights, and talk about not making unfounded claims for defamation purposes,” he said.

An organ performance major, Rizzato didn’t plan to enter the world of social activism. Yet, he said in some ways, it reminds him of his own trans journey.

“It makes me sad to have to be a part of this,” he said. “It makes me sad to see my fellow students and faculty and lower admin in a difficult position. Especially watching the increase of anti-trans legislation going through. You know, I really had a wake-up call of, ‘If I can do something about this, I want to do something about this.’ Things don't change unless we come together and put effort into changing them for the better.”

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.