Lehigh president Joseph Helble announced changes to the Title IX Office during the third installment of his Community Conversations series on Wednesday in Williams Hall.
Helble addressed a number of concerns regarding the office, including case response times and the office’s location in the Office of General Counsel. A student group, “Lehigh IX Now,” called for change last fall, and The Brown and White reported on student concerns last spring.
“We felt there was a substantially important set of questions being asked there that should be explored and investigated,” Helble said.
Helble said the university appointed an internal committee, which included professors Christopher Liang, chair of the department of education and human services; Monica Najar, history professor; and Kathleen Hutnik, associate deputy provost for graduate education.
Helble said the university also hired TNG Consulting, an external consulting firm, to look at the office’s data, emails and email response times to construct a set of recommendations.
Helble announced the Title IX Office will move from the Office of General Counsel and begin reporting to the Provost’s Office, effective Jan. 1. Helble said both the internal committee and external consulting group felt the Title IX Office should be separate from the Office of General Counsel.
Helble also announced that the university will launch a search for an “investigator and deputy Title IX coordinator,” which he said will be an initial investment in additional staffing.
During her appearance on The Brown and White’s “Lehigh Insider” podcast in September, Lehigh Title IX Coordinator Karen Salvemini said her office has been advocating for a new hire since 2018.
Helble said there will be more information provided by the Provost in an announcement prior to winter break.