Staff Spotlight: Jess Kobryn

Jess Kobryn Staff Spotlight graphic
April 19, 2024
Jess Kobryn serves at the Flagler College Senior Director of Institutional Equity as well as the Title IX Coordinator and 504 Coordinator. Starting in the office of Student Affairs, Kobryn has been committed to ensuring fairness and inclusivity within the institution for nearly 12 years.
Jessica Kobryn

How have your various roles as a staff member at Flagler College allowed you to support the safety and mental health of students as well as campus community members?   

When I started at Flagler, I was the Assistant Director of Career Development. In this role I was able to meet and get to know many students in their journey to find a career to fit their individual goals and aspirations. I learned very quickly that students have many different needs and what works for one student might not work for another.  

During this time, I also had the opportunity to volunteer on the Title IX team. I was able to learn about the intentions of the Title IX law and its applications to Collegiate policies with the safety of the campus community in the forefront of my mind. When I moved into Title IX full-time, I focused on making sure every person that came to me felt safe first. Of course, this is done through amazing collaboration with the CARE Team, Safety & Security team, Counseling Services, and many other campus partnerships that continue to this day.  

What kind of programming did your office coordinate for student/ community education or involvement during this Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month? 

We are constantly partnering with Betty Griffin Center (BGC). They can be found on campus twice a month during the semester. But specifically for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, our office was involved in coordinating several events throughout the month:  

April 3 – Sexual Assault Awareness Tabling with BGC  

April 16 – Walk in My Shoes with Lauren’s Kids  

April 17 – Sexual Assault Awareness Tabling with BGC  

April 17 – Take Back the Night with SGA  

UPCOMING April 24 – Denim Day (all day, learn more here: )  

Tell us about Title IX, it’s impact on colleges and universities, and your work to support student safety and equity through that framework: 

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Title IX was established in 1972 to provide women equitable access to education and athletics. Today, Title IX still applies to education and athletics, but also considers sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking all incidents that are based on someone’s gender, therefore is considered gender discrimination.  

It’s important to understand that Title IX law and regulation informs an institution’s policy on sexual assault. A student cannot violate Title IX. If the institution does not comply with Title IX regulation, it can be found in violation of the law. However, to use an analogy used a lot in the Title IX world, Title IX is the floor, and we strive for the ceiling. That means that Title IX regulation lays the foundation, and we go above and beyond to protect our students while still complying with federal law. Student and campus safety is our number one priority. Everything I do within my position has the goal of supporting safety. 

What resources does Flagler College offer its students or community members who have experienced or need to report an instance of sexual assault? 

When it comes to reporting instances of sexual assault, it’s important to know there are mandatory reporters on campus who are required to tell me of any incident that is reported. All faculty and most staff are mandatory reporters.  

But we also have confidential employees who are not required to report incidents of sexual assault to me: Counseling Services and Health Services staff members only. I feel very strongly about not forcing someone to report something they aren’t ready to report or making them feel trapped into reporting. If a student wants to learn more about their options to report without triggering the mandatory response from the institution (me), they are encouraged to seek out support from our Counseling and Health Services staff. If a student is ready to report to the institution and wants to talk about their options for an investigation or other supportive measures, I would encourage them to come talk to me. We also have an amazing relationship with our local sexual assault advocacy center, Betty Griffin Center (BGC). Any reports to BGC are confidential. They also provide free mental health counseling for survivors of sexual assault. 

How has your professional and educational background informed your work at Flagler? 

I was an athlete in College, so I learned about Title IX through the lens of fairness and equity in sports. During my undergraduate and graduate school, I spent four summers working at an 8-week, all girls sleep away camp in the Pocono Mountains. Still to this day, I give this experience all the credit when I think about my communication style and dealing with conflict.  

If you need to learn quickly how to have a hard but compassionate conversation, work at a camp! I also had the opportunity to pursue and complete my doctorate degree in Higher Education Leadership at Nova Southeastern University while working full-time at Flagler College. I looked at every class, research topic, and presentation through the Flagler-lens. Lastly, I’ve had incredible opportunities while working at Flagler to pursue professional development opportunities. I’m a huge advocate for lifelong learning and getting involved in professional associations, which is important in my line of work.  

Do you have a stand-out memory from working with students or other campus community members? 

I have a lot, so it’s hard to narrow them down. But I will say that every conversation I have with a student or employee who has been harmed in some way is the most important part of my day.  I have a full understanding that someone is trusting me with information about one of the worst days of their life. I enter those conversations with so much compassion and respect that they trust me with the information.  

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