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Eastern releases Title IX report

Published on June 30, 2021

Eastern releases Title IX report

TNG Group recommends staffing and process changes

Today Eastern Connecticut State University released a report by the TNG Consulting group following TNG’s independent review of the University’s Title IX practices and procedures. The report summarizes an extensive, two-month review of Eastern’s Title IX processes as well as related University and Board of Regents policies. The evaluation by TNG, a nationally recognized leader in Title IX, included an assessment of applicable documents, policies and website content; an examination of reported cases over the past five years; the review of confidential student submissions; and interviews with students, alumni and employees.

The report found that Eastern needs stronger leadership in the office managing Title IX, as well as improved systems for supporting student reporting of sexual misconduct and providing timely response and resolution of individual cases.  This includes role clarification, more effective training programs, clearer communications regarding reporting options for students, and a better system for documenting and tracking cases.

“I want to acknowledge the TNG Consulting team for conducting a thorough, impartial and professional review of our Title IX practices and procedures,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Our goal in contracting with TNG was to create a safer campus environment and a stronger Title IX system to protect our students and other members of the campus community.

“Using a nationally recognized firm to conduct an independent review of our Title IX practices has resulted in a clear set of findings on how to improve our systems and better serve our students. We will use TNG’s recommendations to guide us in moving forward to meet those goals, working with earnest to improve the level of trust on our campus and the quality of the Title IX services we provide students.

“TNG’s first recommendation is to strengthen the leadership in our Office of Equity and Diversity, which manages Title IX at Eastern. I have moved quickly to respond to this recommendation. This past Friday I announced the appointment of Dr. LaMar Coleman as the new vice president for equity and diversity, who will be tasked with quickly naming an interim Title IX coordinator while we conduct a national search. The fact we have elevated Dr. Coleman’s position to a vice presidency and created a new full-time position to coordinate our Title IX programs is an immediate and strong first step toward addressing the issues raised in the TNG report.

“I am equally committed to the prompt implementation of the other recommendations found in the TNG report. I am confident that the hiring action I have taken and our commitment to implementing TNG’s full set of recommendations will positively impact the safety of our students, the trust they place in Eastern and the transparency and effectiveness of our Title IX practices,” said Núñez.

“The TNG report makes clear that we need to do a better job in encouraging our students to report incidents of sexual misconduct when they occur,” said Coleman, “while providing them with confidential, easy-to-use reporting mechanisms. We want students to feel assured that when they report cases, they will be heard and their cases promptly addressed.  

“We will also increase the use of technology to improve our reporting processes, redefine and clarify roles and responsibilities, and redouble our efforts to educate the campus on what to do and who to turn to in cases of sexual misconduct,” continued Coleman.

“In particular, creating a formal process for the initial assessment of Title IX reporting will be at the top of our list, as well as providing additional training for our Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence Response Team (SAIV-RT) and other campus officials, and improved awareness training for students, faculty and staff.”

“I plan to work closely with Dr. Coleman and his staff to ensure that our plan to respond to the TNG’s recommendations is developed and shared with our stakeholders on a timely basis,” concluded President Núñez. “As part of the plan, we will review all pertinent policies in collaboration with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System Office.  We also need to develop mechanisms to provide students with more opportunities to provide input on improving our Title IX systems.

“Most importantly, I want students to know that their safety is our top priority and that we are here to serve them, protect them and support them,” said Núñez.

To read the complete TNG report, visit https://www.easternct.edu/tngreport

Written by Ed Osborn