UA creates new Department for Equity and Inclusion to combat discrimination
The Department of Equity, Inclusion, and Title IX is the newest department at the University of Arizona and is tasked with dealing with incidents of discrimination and harassment.
The announcement came on Jan. 28 in an email to UA students and staff. The new department will be led by current Title IX Director Ron Wilson.
The United States Department of Education requires all academic institutions that receive funding from the government to have someone on campus designated as the Title IX coordinator who must follow a specific list of duties.
“A majority of universities across the country identify an individual who is currently working on campus in some other capacity to serve as the Title IX coordinator to add these responsibilities to their current job description,” Wilson said.
This individual is expected to implement all of the Department of Education’s requirements, including creating prevention education and awareness training of the due process procedures and policies in place, according to Wilson.
Unlike other schools who only did what was required to “check off their box” for the department of education’s requirement, the UA didn’t stop there, according to Wilson.
“Our president [Dr. Robert Robbins] felt that we need to go above and beyond the guidance coming out of Washington D.C. and not merely identify someone to serve as the Title IX coordinator,” Wilson said, “but actually create an office that is fully staffed with a robust budget and personnel who will address any type of situation involving alleged discrimination, harassment or assault directed at women, anyone who may be a member of the LGBTQ community, as well as the intersections of race, ethnicity, age and disability.”
According to Wilson, Robbins felt that it was important to make sure students and faculty had a safe learning environment, so he created a whole Title IX office, not just an individual position.
Wilson said he hopes other schools will follow the UA’s lead and set up Title IX departments.
In the past, the UA has led other programs, like Step UP!, which were adopted by other universities, according to Wilson.
Step UP! is a bystander intervention program designed to help students who have witnessed situations including alcoholism, depression and sexual assault.
The University of Arizona Police Department will be involved in the Title IX department and will continue to have a relationship with Wilson, according to Public Information Officer Sergeant Cindy Spasoff.
“We anticipate a collaborative effort for all community members to protect our community together,” Spasoff said. “We believe that this new unit will help protect all members of our community.”
According to Wilson, the Department of Education requires every K-12 institution, higher education institution, library and museum to follow all responsibilities under the Title IX amendment.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 means that American universities must maintain an environment without sexual discrimination, harassment or violence.
If you or anyone you know has an issue that violates Title IX contact either UAPD or the Title IX department.
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