June 11, 2014 | The Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Mark G. Stasitis to Title IX coordinator in an effort to further focus and strengthen the campus commitment to a timely and effective response to sexual assault and related issues. Stasitis, director of labor relations and immigration services in the Department of Talent Development and Human Resources, leads a team of several other administrators trained in Title IX compliance, including:
- Mike Strong, deputy Title IX coordinator for students,
- Bethany Prusky, deputy Title IX coordinator for employees, and
- Mary Lu Gribschaw, deputy Title IX coordinator for athletics.
Though most people think of Title IX as a federal law addressing gender equality in athletics, the civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all federally funded education programs and activities. Most recently, there has been extensive national attention to the application of Title IX to sexual assault and sexual harassment on college campuses. Title IX, passed in 1972, requires colleges and universities to provide equal educational opportunities for men and women in order to not discriminate on the basis of sex. Based on current interpretations of the law, sexual violence, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment can interfere with equal educational opportunities. Under Title IX, individuals can file complaints with the Department of Education, which is charged with ensuring that colleges and universities comply with the law.
As Title IX coordinator, Stasitis' core responsibilities include overseeing the University's response to Title IX complaints and identifying and guiding the University's response to any patterns or systematic problems stemming from those complaints. Stasitis and the Title IX team worked closely with University lawyers, police, and administrators to enhance campus access to and understanding of Title IX issues through a dedicated website.
The University has contracted with Law Room Campus Clarity to design a mandatory online orientation program titled Think About IT, which is designed to increase awareness and empower students by educating them in bystander intervention and sexual violence prevention training.
Former Title IX coordinator Dr. Becky Hoover, associate provost for talent development, will provide educational and training resources through UA's Institute for Teaching and Learning to support the Title IX team, Women's Studies, the Multicultural Center/Women's Resource Center and others. The University of Akron is committed to meeting its Title IX requirements, including ending campus sexual violence and eliminating hostile environments, ensuring a safe campus experience for students, faculty and staff.