By Courtney Dunne, Editor-in-Chief
OWU took the initiatve last spring to hire multiple associate deans to cover specific areas of development within the univeristy. Dwayne Todd was hired as the vice president of student engagement and success. This is not his only role. He has also taken on the role of the Title IX coordinator at the university to ensure that Title IX policies are followed and enforced. The Transcript corresponded with Dwayne Todd to learn more about what this position entails.
T-Script: What should students know about this position?
Dwayne Todd: Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex or gender discrimination in colleges and universities. Title IX guidelines apply to all aspects of an institution’s programs or activities and provides protections to all persons, including students, faculty, and staff, from sex or gender discrimination, harassment, or violence.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the university is taking effective measures to prevent sex or gender discrimination within the campus community, reviewing and revising policies and protocols related to Title IX matters, responding appropriately to Title IX issues, ensuring that victims of Title IX violations receive appropriate support, and providing leadership to OWU’s coordinated Title IX efforts.
T-Script: What do you plan to do to improve awareness/enforcement of Title IX?
Dwayne Todd: I’m in the process of learning what has been done in the past at OWU to ensure we are complying with Title IX guidelines and using best practices in this area, which will help me in developing a plan for the future. It is very important that students, faculty, and staff understand what protections are offered by Title IX, how to support a university community that does not tolerate sex or gender discrimination and violence, and how to bring concerns to the attention of the appropriate individuals on campus so that they can be addressed. We will do this through public messages, awareness campaigns, individual and group training, policy review and revision, and more.
T-Script: How did the university go about finding someone to fill this position?
Dwayne Todd: I was recently hired to be the new Vice President for Student Engagement and Success and Dean of Students. It just so happens that I am also certified as a Title IX Coordinator, served in that capacity for five years at my last college, and have continued to receive annual training for that role. With the departure of the individual currently serving as OWU’s Title IX Coordinator, who was in an interim role with his main responsibilities here, President Jones turned to me to step into the role given my training and experience in it.
T-Script: As President Jones stated in his email, you were previously the Title IX Coordinator at the Columbus College of Art and Design, what did the position entail there?
Dwayne Todd: The Title IX Coordinator responsibilities there were the same that they will be here: to ensure the institution is taking effective measures to prevent and respond to instances of sex or gender based discrimination, harassment, or violence to people within our campus community. That requires my leadership with regard to relevant policy creation and enforcement, education efforts across the institution about Title IX topics, appropriate investigation and adjudication of Title IX complaints, and more. When there is an alleged Title IX violation, my responsibility is to ensure that the university uses a fair and equitable process to review the complaint, determine whether a violation did occur according to the standards prescribed by Title IX guidelines, and address its effects on individuals and the community. Those processes can be complicated and difficult for all parties involved, so we will continue to work on efforts to support those individuals properly along the way.
T-Script: What did you learn from being the Coordination at CCAD?
Dwayne Todd: My experience as the Title IX Coordinator at CCAD taught me that having a cohesive process in place, led by properly trained individuals, is key to ensuring that we respond effectively to Title IX concerns. Students need to know to whom they should report concerns if they want action taken and/or support provided, and they need to be clear about what’s going to happen in the process. My experience also taught me that the campus community, including faculty and staff, are very committed to supporting a campus free from such discrimination and violence, and just need to be provided with the right tools and knowledge to do so.
T-Script: What do you think OWU could do better or different in order to best implement Title IX?
Dwayne Todd: I am still learning what OWU has done in the past regarding Title IX compliance and education, but I am already actively working with others on campus on these issues. For example, the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Education recently provided guidance pertaining to the application of Title IX protections to transgender individuals on campuses. OWU’s Title IX coordinating team met a couple of weeks ago to review that guidance and discuss what it means for our campus community.
As I continue to review our policies, protocols, and education efforts, I will gain a much clearer picture of where we have been excelling and where improvements should be made. I greatly appreciate the work of John Sanders, our outgoing Title IX Coordinator and Interim Director of Human Resources, as well as the team of others who had helped lead OWU’s Title IX efforts in the past, and look forward to working with those individuals and others to ensure OWU becomes of model campus of best practices in the area of Title IX.