On Sept. 13, the Office of the President at Seton Hall University sent out an email to the community regarding its Title IX policies and the changes to be made following the investigation into Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The email began by acknowledging the recent events stating, “last month, you received an update on the independent review of sexual harassment allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark, as they pertain to Seton Hall.”
The update that was previously sent out mentioned a series of, “proactive measures designed to better provide an environment that is welcoming and safe,” according to the email.
This most recent email offered additional details about the aforementioned measures, specifically the ones that deal with hiring, housing, training and Title IX. “Strengthening our structures and systems in these areas reflect the University’s commitment to support our entire community.”
Title IX and anti-discrimination training for all who live, learn and work at the University. This includes everyone from tenured faculty members to students to part-time summer camp counselors.
“Hiring and transfer guidelines also are being strengthened, including background checks for new hires, current employees and individuals who are slated to live in University housing,” the email stated. “In addition, new protocols will reinforce Seton Hall’s oversight of all housing — including guest housing.”
In an effort to further boost adherence to Title IX protocols, the email also included a commitment to hiring a Chief Equity, Diversity and Compliance Officer. “This person will lead an enhanced reporting system that tasks Regents, Trustees, deans and other employees with certifying and validating Seton Hall’s Title IX compliance.”
Other improvements related to Title IX include “the appointment of a Deputy Title IX Officer and a commitment to conducting a bi-annual campus climate survey of all undergraduate and graduate students.”
The email concluded by stating that in the coming weeks, a few of these measures will be announced formally to the campus. This includes additional information about “what each of us must to do ensure their success. Though this summary is not exhaustive — as additional measures continue to be developed — it speaks to the University’s dedication to improving its living, learning and working environment.”
As it stands, the University’s current Title IX policy is in full compliance. These changes are meant to further enhance the university’s current practices, however.
According to the Title IX statement to the community on the University’s website, “the office is we are committed to a university free from sexual harassment and sexual assault. Anything less is unacceptable.”
In addition, it affirms the University’s pledge to work towards this goal. “Seton Hall provides many opportunities for education and understanding to address concerns about sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and sexual violence. The resources that we provide are described throughout this site. We encourage our community to read, to question and to participate in the dialogue to foster a community welcoming to all.
When asked about the current Title IX policy, Lori Brown, the director of EEO compliance and the Title IX coordinator said it’s a “policy against sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and retaliation.”
Laurie Pine, a spokesperson for the university commented on the timing of Nyre’s email and the investigation into McCarrick.
“The email regarding strengthening Seton Hall’s Title IX policies and laws is part of the University’s response to the McCarrick review and demonstrates the University’s commitment to providing a safe learning, living and working environment for our seminarians, students, faculty, priests, staff and administrations to grow and flourish,” Pine said.
She went on to describe the changes that are being implemented
“Following the recent review of Mr. McCarrick, Seton Hall’s Board of Regents has begun implementing a number of additional actions to strengthen the University’s compliance systems and governance structures to better support all members of the campus community,” Pine said.
She stressed that while the University is currently in full compliance of all Title IX policies and laws, “the Board is committed to exceeding these requirements by hiring a Chief Equity, Diversity and Compliance Officer and appointing a Deputy Title IX Officer.”
She went on to say that these new positions will further strengthen the University’s Title IX office and “will work closely with the Director of EEO Compliance and the Title IX coordinators on each of the University’s campuses.”
In addition to those changes, in the spring of 2020, the University will be conducting a campus climate survey of all undergraduate and graduate students.
When asked about the new positions, Pine stated, “the University’s Board of Regents began to implement these changes immediately following the completion of the McCarrick review by Latham & Watkins, the law firm retained to conduct the independent review.”
She added that the “Chief Equity, Diversity and Compliance Officer position is a new one for Seton Hall, and complements existing positions, including the Director of EEO Compliance and several Title IX Coordinators.”
Pine concluded by saying that the University administration believes that these new hiring guidelines and housing protocols will further strengthen Seton Hall’s commitment to “to providing a safe learning, living and working environment for our seminarians, students, faculty, priests, staff and administrations to grow and flourish.”
“The University routinely reviews and updates all our campus policies and procedures, and is always exploring new ways to best serve the campus community,” Pine said.
Rhania Kamel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.