After being closed for review for weeks, Nightline will reopen Friday at 10 p.m. and resume its regular schedule, taking calls nightly from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Barnard administrators first told Nightline’s directors last spring that the group would need to undergo a procedural review and updated training before being allowed to open its lines this fall. Though administrators did not specify how long the Barnard-Columbia anonymous peer counseling hotline would need to be closed, its opening has been delayed several times since the start of the semester.
“I’m thankful that we were able to get this done as quickly as we did because it could have been a more long-term suspension that they enacted on us, and so I’m very glad we avoided that,” said Katie Mukai, BC ’13 and one of Nightline’s co-directors. The paperwork-heavy process “just took longer than we anticipated with passing things between different parties and getting everything approved,” she said.
Over the last month, Nightline’s directors and staff reviewed the group’s policies and procedures and received training from the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center. While Nightline’s regular training process and certification test cover rape and other forms of sexual violence, Mukai said this training served as an update for everyone.
“A lot of policies with sexual harassment and gender misconduct have been changing, and with the Title IX law, we wanted to make sure we were up to date in that area because it’s such an important area, not only on our campus, but in general,” Mukai said.
Although Nightline is recognized by both Barnard’s Student Government Association and the Activities Board at Columbia, only Barnard’s administration requested the review. Throughout the process, the group worked closely with Amy Zavadil, Barnard’s community conduct director and Title IX coordinator, who expressed her enthusiasm about the group’s opening in a statement on Thursday.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Nightline’s directors who, together with their advisers and staff, have worked diligently to prepare for reopening on Friday Oct. 12,” she said. “The service they provide to the campus community is extremely important, and we wish them continued success.”
Lori Goldman, BC ’13 and Mukai’s co-director, said she and the staff all felt “an overwhelming sense of relief and pride” when they heard they would be able to open the lines this week.
“I think that Nightline provides a very unique service in that we’re peers listening to other peers and because it’s anonymous,” Goldman said. “It’s important that we’re open late at night when people often have a hard time, and it’s important for people to feel like there are people here who care about them.”