Kat Namon ’22
On Friday, Sept. 6, Dean of Students Joe DiChristina sent a campus wide email informing students that previous Title IX coordinator Venice Ross, who held the position for 18 months, had departed at the end of August. Ross had been the associate director of Human Resources at the College, in addition to her position of Title IX Coordinator. Ross departed from the school to become the manager of human resources at a health care agency in the Hartford area. DiChristina’s email also indicated that Renita Kelly would succeed Ross in an interim capacity as Title IX Coordinator at the College. Ross has a background in higher education compliance, including serving eight years as the Equal Opportunity Officer and Title IX Coordinator at Capital Community College in Hartford. DiChristina’s email also provided reminders of the Title IX resources available to the campus and how students can access those resources. The email included two attachments, including the booklet “Your Rights, Your Options,” which details the means of redress available to those who have been victims of sexual misconduct, as well as Trinity’s sexual misconduct policy.
The college intends to create a new, more permanent position after Kelly’s interim role as Title IX Coordinator is completed.
The Tripod spoke with DiChristina, who said that “what we are doing at now is looking at our policies of non-discrimination, and Title IX falls under that category.”Further, the college has created a draft of a non-discrimination policy, presently circulating amongst the faculty for review and input. The newly empaneled 2019 Student Government Association, among other governing bodies, will also have an opportunity to review and offer input on the draft policy, according to DiChristina.
With regard to the permanency of the position of Title IX Coordinator, DiChristina clarified that it would ultimately have a wider scope, distinct from coordinating college implementation of one one section of the law that the college is required to follow, such as Title IX. In this way, the role will cover many issues that fall within the ambit of non-discrimination.
After the drafted policy is reviewed by the faculty and students, among other groups, the Board of Trustees will have an opportunity to provide their input in mid-October. Once the board has provided assent, the search to find someone to fill this new role will begin.
DiChristina added that “by mid-October, we will be able to start advertising for that position. It will be an Assistant or Vice President position for someone with significant years of service in the field of non-discrimination. This would be a national process, and we would hire someone that would most likely not be at the college.” DiChristina further added that the position “is a lot of work and consists of significant work, so the person in this role really has to have an ability to help individuals who have complaints, help manage the process, and must be very knowledgeable and very caring. Hiring someone with a sense of understanding and expertise about how to work with individuals who have experienced some kind of discrimination is important, so that’s why it needs to be a national search.”
DiChristina indicated that Kelly, who currently holds the interim position, was suggested to the college as interim coordinator. “Someone brought Rita to our attention, so she has some good experience with all of this, but she was not looking to have the position as a full time job.” While Kelly serves in an interim capacity, DiChristina did laud her work, stating that “she’s here doing a great job helping us because of her experience, as she has done the work before, so I appreciate her for that.”
Still, the new position–once defined–will have its emphasis on the totality of issues withinthe college’s non-discrimination policy. DiChristina added that “we are looking for something a little bit bigger and a position that oversees non-discrimination overall.”