LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Office of Institutional Opportunity and Advancement has changed its name to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX to make clearer its responsibility for investigating reports of racial, ethnic and sex-based discrimination at the institution.
While the previous office name reflected the aspirational outcomes of eliminating unlawful discrimination, it was ambiguous and not intuitive for students, faculty and staff seeking assistance with a discrimination complaint, according to Mike Rounds, vice provost for human resources, public safety, facilities and operations.
“We want it to be clear that the university has an office dedicated to preventing and investigating all forms of unlawful discrimination,” Rounds said. “The mission of the office hasn’t changed; we believe that eliminating discrimination leads to greater opportunities and advancement for all Jayhawks.”
One of the office’s primary responsibilities is investigating Title IX violations. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal money. Title IX requires higher education institutions to employ a Title IX coordinator tasked with ensuring compliance and coordinating the investigative process. Rounds hopes the new name raises awareness of Title IX and where people can go for help.
Rounds said the Civil Rights & Title IX staff work to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the KU community. Along with the name change, the office has launched a new website at civilrights.ku.edu designed to better outline the reporting process and connect people to support resources at KU and in the greater community.
“My hope is the new name and website will raise the visibility of the office and the support it provides, and reinforce KU’s commitment to being an institution that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence and retaliation,” Rounds said.
Students, faculty and staff can report incidents of racial, ethnic or sex-based discrimination, and incidents of retaliation, on the new website at civilrights.ku.edu, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 785-864-6414.