News, University News

Rene Davis appointed Title IX program officer

Davis, currently Mount Holyoke College's Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator, will head the Title IX office beginning July 17

By and
Senior Staff Writers
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Rene Davis will serve as the University’s Title IX program officer starting July 17, wrote Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy, in a community-wide email May 18. Davis will replace former Title IX Program Officer Amanda Walsh, who stepped down in January after over a year in the position.

“Davis stood out in a very competitive field of qualified candidates due to the depth and breadth of her knowledge of Title IX as well as her demonstrated commitment to the importance of this work,” Carey wrote in an email to The Herald.

To fulfill her role as incoming Title IX program officer, Davis will leave her current position as Title IX and Section 504 coordinator at Mount Holyoke College. At Mount Holyoke, Davis “has senior responsibility for all matters relating to Title IX,” Carey wrote in the community-wide email. At the college, Davis developed “a sexual misconduct policy, a comprehensive training program and new procedures for complaint intake and adjudication,” Carey wrote in the community-wide email.

Davis “has deep knowledge of and commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity,” wrote Carey in the community-wide email. “Most recently, she co-chaired a campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and a community diversity learning conference” at Mount Holyoke, Carey wrote.

Davis has worked at Mount Holyoke for the past 14 years, previously working in roles such as director of residential life and dean of students before taking on Title IX responsibilities, Davis said. Prior to her time at Mount Holyoke, Davis was area coordinator at the North Carolina School of the Arts, according to a University press release.

Davis hopes to bring in a different perspective to Brown, drawing from her experiences working at Mount Holyoke.

“One of the opportunities that I have as being the Title IX coordinator at a women’s college is that I don’t have the preset notions around who is a complainant, who is a respondent of a complaint (and) what gender and equity or sexual violence looks like,” Davis said. “It allows me to come into (Brown’s co-ed) space as an open vessel.”

Through Davis’ leadership at Brown’s Title IX office, “the emphasis will not be on how we handle complaints but really on how we educate our community to prevent (incidents) from happening within our campus community,” Davis said.

Following Walsh’s departure and former Title IX internal investigator Jessica Katz, three interim Title IX administrators were appointed and an external consultant was hired to continue the full functionality of the Title IX office, The Herald previously reportedVice President for Academic Development, Diversity and Inclusion Liza Cariaga-Lo was appointed as interim Title IX program officer, but Cariaga-Lo will be stepping down from her position June 1, “at which point she will not have a direct role with the Title IX office,” wrote Director of News and Editorial Development Brian Clark in an email to The Herald.

From June 1 to July 16, between Cariaga-Lo’s departure as vice president and Davis’ arrival, the interim Title IX program officer role will be fulfilled by Kirsten Wolfe, assistant dean of students for student conduct and community standards and interim deputy Title IX coordinator for undergraduate students. Associate Dean of the Faculty Anne Windham will be the deputy Title IX coordinator for faculty during that time, Carey wrote in the community-wide email.

Amidst Davis’ appointment as Title IX program officer, the University also looks “to fill an administrative assistant position to support the Title IX office as well as two internal investigator positions,” Carey wrote in the email to The Herald. “The internal investigators hired in these positions will serve to investigate other forms of harassment and discrimination, such as those covered by Title VI and Title VII, in addition to Title IX” cases.