Interim President Nagi Naganathan updated University of Toledo Board of Trustee members on UT’s ongoing efforts to prevent sexual assault and the resources available to support survivors at its Oct. 20 Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting.
Naganathan announced that UT will contract with Bisi Okubdejo of BallardSpahr to conduct a review of the University’s response to sexual misconduct on campus and its policies and procedures regarding Title IX.
Okubdejo is a former supervisory general attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights with extensive experience in advising colleges and universities on Title IX and Clery Act compliance.
“Ms. Okubdejo recently conducted a similar review at the University of Cincinnati,” Naganathan said, “and I believe this overview is consistent with The University of Toledo’s commitment to creating a culture of sexual assault prevention as well as a culture where survivors are encouraged to come forward and are well-supported through medical, academic, counseling, law enforcement and other resources.”
In addition, based on recommendations from the White House, students will no longer be included on the student code of conduct adjudication panel for any cases involving sexual misconduct or Title IX complaints. Instead, a single panel of specially trained faculty and staff will hear all cases involving Title IX. UT’s Student Senate recently passed a measure also calling for students to no longer be included on the panel.
Naganathan also highlighted that Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, senior vice president for student affairs, and Jovita Thomas-Williams, associate vice president for human resources and talent development, just returned from a week of advanced Title IX certification training.
“This was an opportunity for top UT officials to hear from Title IX experts about the most recent recommendations from the White House as well as gain access to best practices from four-year and two-year colleges across the country in the areas of Title IX as well as sexual assault prevention and response,” Naganathan said.
Additionally, approximately a dozen UT employees took part in a Title IX training last month organized by the Ohio Attorney General’s office and led by Okubdejo.
“Based on these sessions, it is clear that many of the best practices across the nation are already part of current UT processes, including strong partnerships with external organizations and law enforcement. However, no process is perfect, and we are always striving to improve,” Naganathan said.