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KU names new leader of Office of Civil Rights & Title IX

Tue, 06/21/2022

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas has selected a new leader to oversee its civil rights and Title IX efforts.

Lauren Jones McKown – an accomplished attorney, higher education administrator and KU alumna – has been named KU’s associate vice chancellor for civil rights & Title IX.

McKown comes to KU from Northern Virginia Community College, where she serves as the institution’s Title IX coordinator. In this role, she administers the college’s Title IX grievance procedure, provides support measures for reports of sexual misconduct, builds Title IX awareness and compliance programs for the institution’s six campuses, and provides training for students, staff, investigators, hearing officers, appellate officers, advisers and informal resolution facilitators.

McKown begins her new role with KU on June 26.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to return to my alma mater and lead KU’s work related to civil rights and Title IX,” McKown said. “KU can be proud of the work it’s done in this space in recent years, and I look forward to ensuring KU continues to be a national leader in preventing and responding to discrimination in all its forms and creating an overall campus culture of respect.”

Prior to her role with Northern Virginia Community College, McKown served as director of the Center for Accommodation and Access and Title IX coordinator at Columbus State University; as director of compliance, director of equal opportunity and diversity, and Title IX coordinator at Texas A&M International University; as a law clerk and attorney with Foley & MacAdie, P.C.; and as a paralegal and law clerk with the Law Offices of Helman & Neustadt.

McKown earned her law degree from New England Law in Boston and has both a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from KU.

A new title and new reporting line

McKown replaces Demetrius Peterson, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, who has been leading KU’s Office of Civil Rights & Title IX on an interim basis since summer 2021. In addition to leading the office’s day-to-day operations, Peterson and his colleagues from Husch Blackwell were asked by KU leaders to take a fresh look at the office and recommend ways KU could enhance the office moving forward.

Due in part to Husch Blackwell’s recommendation, along with the latest best practices among higher education peers, McKown takes over the office with a different title – “associate vice chancellor” – than previous leaders, whose title was “director.” This title change reflects the office’s new reporting line directly to the Office of the Chancellor. Previously, the office reported to Human Resource Management.

About the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX

The Office of Civil Rights & Title IX administers KU's equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies and procedures, and it encourages a campus climate of respect and understanding. The office serves as a neutral and unbiased resource for members of the university community who wish to report an allegation of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence and/or retaliation, and offers assistance and protective measures to those individuals.

The office is a neutral fact finder when conducting investigations in response to allegations of sexual, misconduct, harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Staff is responsible for gathering information about the allegation in a diplomatic, culturally competent and trauma-informed manner that is fair to both the person reporting the allegation (i.e., the complainant) and the person responding to the allegation (i.e., the respondent).

The office also provides information about health, safety, advocacy and support resources. As necessary, the office performs formal investigations to detect, discontinue and prevent violations of the Non-Discrimination Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy, and to ensure the university complies with state and federal civil rights laws.

For additional information about the office, or to file a complaint, members of the community can visit the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX website.



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