Chancellor Holden Thorp announced the creation of a full-time Title IX coordinator Tuesday night in a campus-wide email — marking the third position created this semester to address sexual violence on campus.
The establishment of the position — which was mandated by the Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” letter in April 2011 — comes on the heels of months of controversy surrounding the way UNC handles sexual assault. Allegations that the University has” treated sexual assault survivors inappropriately”: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2012/11/50b8358b311c9 and insensitively have swirled — culminating in two federal investigations, which launched in March.
Thorp said in his statement that the new position will lead the University’s efforts toward complying with Title IX, the 40-year-old federal law that prohibits sexual violence, among other protections.
More specifically, Thorp cited that the new position would focus its efforts on three main areas: improving the campus climate, establishing effective resources for those affected by sexual harassment and violence and implementing policies that are in compliance with federal mandates.
Hurt said her biggest duty will be improving UNC’s Title IX system — an oversight role that will allow her to collaborate with other administrators who deal with sexual violence.
“I’ll be documenting roles and responsibilities, identifying gaps and identifying strengths we want to bolster, on campus” she said.
University spokesman Mike McFarland said Ann Penn, UNC’s Equal Opportunity/Americans with Disabilities Act officer, served as acting Title IX officer before Hurt.
UNC will not use an outside search firm to conduct the search for a permanent candidate, McFarland said. He added that internal, national searches resulted in the hiring of Ew Quimbaya-Winship as deputy Title IX officer in February and Jayne Grandes as investigator in the Equal Opportunity/Americans with Disabilities Act Office in March, two positions that work with sexual assault.
Hurt said she will not apply for the permanent position.
Hurt will also spearhead a task force dedicated to reviewing UNC’s sexual assault policy this summer.
Student Body President Christy Lambden said in a roundtable forum Wednesday that the current policy lacks transparency — and it’s important that the task force remain vigilant in maintaining transparency and soliciting student input.
“The committee over the summer will be looking at the policy from four different angles: content, tone, clarity and layout,” Lambden said.
“We made errors with the policy the first time around, we’re not going to make the same errors the second time around,” he said.
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