The Consortium for Title IX and Equity in Higher Education

Sept. 26, 2016

As Chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Fall 2016 Consortium Conference. We are honored to host a group of leaders who are dedicated to ensuring equal opportunities at universities around the country, and preventing and responding to all forms of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct.

We share your mission and priority of providing a safe and non-discriminatory environment for our campus communities. But that mission and priority requires constant evaluation and re-evaluation of our programs and policies. Specifically, it requires us to continually ask ourselves, “Are we doing everything that we can and in the best way possible?”

Here at CU-Boulder we asked ourselves those questions in 2013. To answer them, we hired the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, nationally recognized as Title IX experts, to conduct an independent audit of our Title IX programs.

Gina and Leslie have been critical partners to us, and to many of you, in determining how we are doing and where we need to go. We are honored to host them as featured speakers this morning.

While they determined that we were meeting legal requirements, they did have three primary recommendations:

  • Hiring a dedicated, Title IX Coordinator for the entire campus.
  • Coordinating our response efforts.
  • And increasing education and prevention efforts.

As a first critical step in response, and to ensure that we were moving beyond mere compliance, we hired Valerie Simons, a former Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division trial attorney to lead our efforts. Through her leadership and her experienced staff, we have created the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, a comprehensive civil rights office that provides education, investigation, and remedial measures in a coordinated and timely way.

This office represents the university’s commitment to ensuring a fair and equitable process for all. Valerie reports directly to me, as it is essential that I am routinely apprised about the progress we are making in this critical area. More importantly, it ensures that it remains a visible priority issue for our campus.

I want to thank Valerie and her staff, and all of you, for the tremendous and vital work you do every day to ensure that we move closer to a world free of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. But, we all know that we have more work to do.

As I now turn it over to Valerie, I challenge everyone to continue to ask yourselves over the next two days, “are we doing everything that we can, and in the best way possible?” as you gain knowledge from peers in your field, share ideas, and learn from each other. With the great responsibilities we have assumed, we must continue to evolve and grow.

Thank you.