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Caye Smith takes on new title IX responsibilities

President Bob Brower sent an email to faculty and staff Sept. 1 announcing additional administrative responsibilities for Cabinet member Dr. Caye Smith.

In addition to being the Vice President for Student Development, Smith is now the Title IX Coordinator.

Recent federal action by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights requires that every educational institution that receives federal financial aid has to appoint at least one employee to coordinate and carry out its responsibilities under the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities.

Earlier this year, the department’s Office for Civil Rights investigated more than 100 colleges and universities over allegations about failing to meet the requirements of Title IX, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Smith, in her 15th year with the university, has actually been the Title IX Coordinator for about 6 years, she said . However, the position pertained only to the equality of women in athletics.

“Now the role of Title IX Coordinator is elevated and more expansive,” Smith said. “Legally Title IX has expanded to relate to the collegiate environment at all levels of the university.”

Whether it is gender equity in the classroom, dorms, or on the field, Smith has oversight.

The position is designed to address the recent additions that now include sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination and sexual violence as forms of sexual discrimination under Title IX.

A major part of this, Smith says, is the mandatory training of the employers to be equipped to report any case that a student files. To do this, she has planned to create a committee of campus-wide representation and also an online training module has been purchased by the university so faculty, staff, and students can participate as well.

Student leaders at Lead Week, Resident Life staff and other selective employees have already received sexual assault response training.

“Dr. Smith was appointed because of her expertise and experience with the issues that are the focus of the law,” President Brower said. “I’m grateful she had been willing to take on these additional responsibilities.”

Cabinet member Dr. Joe Watkins was also recently appointed to the new position of Executive Vice President and CEO of PLNU Trust.

Watkins describes his new role as an opportunity to make it possible to focus on providing a greater variety of financial resources with the goal to constrain and lower costs for our students as well as to sustain PLNU long term.

“Both Watkins and Smith’s new roles on campus,” Brower said, “were added to meet the changing needs of the university and are effective immediately.”

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Jordan Ligons

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