University News

Students aid Title IX officer search

Search committee reviews nearly 100 applications with goal of filling role by end of semester

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, January 30, 2015

On-campus interviews will begin this week for a Title IX Program Officer, who will oversee all aspects of the University’s sexual assault policy and prevention efforts. The officer will spearhead staff and student bystander training, resources for victims of sexual assault and Title IX compliance measures, among other responsibilities.

A selection committee comprising faculty members and students will appoint an officer by the end of the spring semester, said Liza Cariaga-Lo, vice president for academic development, diversity and inclusion and the University’s overall Title IX coordinator.

The University has received around 100 applications for the position since the Office of Human Resources posted the job description Aug. 29, Cariaga-Lo said. The search has been delayed since then so that interviews could be conducted with the input of a student search committee during the semester, rather than over winter break.

The student representatives on the selection committee include two undergraduates, a medical student and a graduate student. These students have aided the committee throughout the entire search process by reviewing materials in October and November and conducting Skype interviews in December with a narrowed pool of “about a dozen” applicants, Cariaga-Lo said.

The students were nominated by senior administrators and selected by Cariaga-Lo, who heads the search committee, she wrote in a follow-up email to The Herald.

“We are trying to funnel in as much student perspective as possible into the search process,” said Maahika Srinivasan ’15, president of the Undergraduate Council of Students and a student representative on the committee, adding that the undergraduate representatives advocate student needs, such as prevention training and support in the judicial process.

“In a time when we are obviously trying to change policy and ensure we have the proper resources and people in place, we want to be sure that we find the right individual,” Cariaga-Lo said.

“Even if someone has had deep experience at a university community other than Brown, they have to understand that they would enter a community with unique needs,” she added.

Applicants have brought unique perspectives to the Title IX position, including backgrounds in law, advocacy and therapy, Cariaga-Lo said. “People see Brown as a place where some really good work can be done.”

“We had a highly diverse pool of candidates who came from a wide variety of institutions — not just universities, but also nonprofit organizations and government agencies who have been doing work related to Title IX and sexual assault,” Cariaga-Lo said.

The committee hopes to find a candidate who understands regulations within a changing landscape of campus sexual assault policy and has a “trauma-informed” perspective, which would allow the officer to direct students to available resources, “whether they are survivors or even bystanders,” she said.

“In addition to understanding regulation, compliance and resources, they must also have the ability to be a leader and bring together the broad constituencies of individuals who will work together on issues of sexual assault,” she added.

Srinivasan said the new program officer should not only understand Brown’s “collaborative and open environment,” but also be willing to “shake things up a bit.”

“We need a shift in campus culture,” Srinivasan said. “This person should be able to evaluate the culture we have but also be bold enough to come in and try to change that.”

“There’s not a prerequisite of knowledge of Brown,” said Will Furuyama ’15, the other undergraduate representative on the selection committee. The job demands an individual who is “able to navigate Brown as an institution, as well as the specific communities within Brown,” Furuyama said.

During the first few months on the job, the program officer will interact with a variety of faculty members, students and members of the Providence community in order to establish connections and develop a sense of campus culture, Cariaga-Lo said.

The committee will transition from Skype interviews to in-person meetings this semester to get a better idea of how candidates will operate within the Brown community.

“It’s evident from the way that (applicants) respond to questions about problems that we’ve named on campus … (whether) they would be a good fit for Brown,” Furuyama said,, adding that on-campus interviews will help solidify the committee’s decisions.

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  1. Gramp Balel says:

    This a serious matter, being put through a flaky process, by a bunch of flaky people, led by Chris Paxson, the flakiest of them all.

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