Theresa Rowland installed as interim Title IX coordinator

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Theresa Rowland

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Theresa Rowland

Drew Howard

Theresa Rowland has been appointed the new interim Title IX coordinator for Grand Valley State University in response to the withdrawal of Dwight Hamilton.

Rowland previously worked as the violence against women grant coordinator in the GVSU Women’s Center. Prior to this, Rowland held positions at Vanderbilt University as well as Davenport University.

As the interim Title IX coordinator, Rowland will be responsible for implementing the policies provided within the Title IX compliance. Policies include the prohibition of issues such as sex discrimination and sexual misconduct on campus.

“What I do in this particular role is identifying what training is required of faculty, staff and students,” Rowland said. “We want to ensure that there is prevention education and awareness, a process that is fair and equitable as well as a staff that is trained, ready and equipped to do this.”

The tentative plan is that Rowland will continue to serve as the interim Title IX coordinator until a new candidate is selected.

Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity at GVSU, explained that he is not rushing to fill the position.

“We will fill this position with a regular appointment at the appropriate time,” Bernal said. “I’m very comfortable with the processes and support we have in place on an interim basis.”

As a new member of the Division of Inclusion and Equity, Bernal said he plans to take the next few months to listen and learn from members of the community.

“I want to learn what has worked well for the division, what opportunities are there for enhancements as well as what gaps we can strive to fill,” Bernal said. “As part of this initial phase of listening, we will undergo a strategic planning process for the division. I want us to take the time to have these conversations and develop a strategic approach to our organizational structure before we conduct searches.”

A strong candidate for the Title IX coordinator position will show commitment to a healthy campus climate, Bernal said.

“GVSU strives to be a campus that advances equity and creates an environment where all members of the community feel welcomed, supported and like the integral members of the community that they are,” Bernal said. “As such, the Title IX coordinator will work within the Division of Inclusion and Equity to support programming and education opportunities that link gender equity with other equity opportunity. They will also go beyond the minimal Title IX requirements.”

Bernal believes the Title IX coordinator position will be filled before the 2015 fall semester.

“I see a key role of mine as being the strongest possible advocacy voice for the people that aren’t at the table,” Bernal said. “I expect we’ll have someone well before the beginning of the next academic year or next calendar year.”

Bernal added that he expects Rowland to an excellent job in the meanwhile.

“It’s important that the university has a dedicated person filling this role at all times,” Bernal said. “Theresa Rowland brings a wealth of experience, and I’m excited to work with her.”

For further questions, the Title IX office can be contacted at (616) 331-9530.

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