FSU Seeking a Full-time Title IX Coordinator
Months after the United States Department of Education began investigating Frostburg State University for a potential Title IX violation, the university has begun searching for a full-time Title IX coordinator. According to a FSU spokesperson, applications have been closed, and they are under review. The spokesperson said on September 30, “Preliminary interviews are being conducted this week. They expect to be able to make a decision by the end of October.”
The FSU spokesperson stated, “There are several steps involved, so it’s hard to put a timetable on [how long it will take the hire a coordinator]. The search committee needs to review all the applications, identify who will be interviewed, then bring the candidates to campus. Often for positions of this level there are first and second rounds of interviews. But the process is moving forward.”
Beth Hoffman, FSU’s current Title IX coordinator, will be retained. Her primary duties currently include the oversight of “ADA and EEO compliance, and immigration issues for faculty and staff, in addition to her duties as Title IX coordinator,” according to a university spokesperson.
“Hoffman will continue her other duties, but her Title IX coordination duties will shift to the new coordinator when that person is hired. Hoffman will assist the new coordinator as required,” said the spokesperson.
At the recommendation of the United States Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the University System of Maryland, FSU’s Title IX coordinator function will be reorganized, according to the spokesperson.
According to the OCR, “A Title IX coordinator’s core responsibilities include overseeing the school’s response to Title IX reports and complaints and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports and complaints. This means that the Title IX coordinator must have knowledge of the requirements of Title IX, of the school’s own policies and procedures on sex discrimination, and of all complaints raising Title IX issues throughout the school.”
If a university designates more than one coordinator, the OCR mandates that it must list the responsibilities of each coordinator and designate one as having “ultimate oversight responsibility.” Per the spokesperson, Hoffman will no longer be listed as the Title IX coordinator, so the new coordinator will have ultimate oversight.
The OCR also states that “a school may decide to give its Title IX coordinator additional responsibilities, such as: providing training to students, faculty, and staff on Title IX issues; conducting Title IX investigations, including investigating facts relevant to a complaint, and determining appropriate sanctions against the perpetrator and remedies for the complainant; determining appropriate interim measures for a complainant upon learning of a report or complaint of sexual violence; and ensuring that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for working with local law enforcement and coordinating services with local victim advocacy organizations and service providers, including rape crisis centers.”
However, FSU’s new Title IX coordinator will not be conducting Title IX investigations or determining sanctions for perpetrators, according to the spokesperson. Those responsibilities will be retained by the Student Conduct Hearing Panel.
Instead, the new Title IX Coordinator will focus on providing training on Title IX issues, overseeing Title IX compliance, and meeting with students.
“The new Title IX Coordinator will work in conjunction with Student Services and other organizations on campus to provide training to students, faculty, and staff on Title IX issues. The new Coordinator will have a leadership role developing, promoting and conducting campus-wide training; track compliance with required training of faculty, staff and students; and remain available to meet with students as necessary,” said the spokesperson.
FSU must ensure that the coordinator has been properly trained in the areas the coordinator is responsible for, according to the OCR.
The job posting on FSU’s website states that the “successful candidate will facilitate the University’s commitment to promoting a learning and working environment free of discriminatory behavior, particularly sexual misconduct pursuant to Title IX; and will be responsible for leadership, coordination, and oversight of Title IX and addressing issues related to campus safety.”
Applicants should at least have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, but a Master’s degree or a Juris Doctor in a related field is desired, according to the job posting.
Applicants must also have “significant experience demonstrating a clear understanding of Title IX and related compliance issues,” as well as “demonstrated experience in policy administration, complaint resolution, knowledge, and application of federal and state regulations related to Title IX, sexual harassment, campus safety, and other related laws.”
For more information, read the OCR’s Q&A on Title IX and Sexual Violence.
This story has been updated.