Search for New Title IX Coordinator Continues

On Monday, Oct. 31, Renee Madison, the vice president for equity and inclusion, sent an email to the Colgate community announcing the start of a search for a new Title IX Coordinator. The email explained that Tamala Flack, who had held the position since the summer of 2021, decided to leave Colgate in order to explore other interests. 

Before serving as Colgate’s Title IX Coordinator, Flack served as Colgate’s Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion, overseeing affirmative action and equal employment opportunities. Both this position and the Title IX Coordinator are under the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Madison emphasized the impact of this position, as well as the search process, in describing Flack’s commitment during her time in the Office of Equity and Diversity. 

“In each of these roles, [Flack] brought compassion, a commitment to fair and equitable practices, and an extraordinary work ethic,” Madison said. “But the most common theme that you will hear, in reference to Tamala, is that she took the time to really listen to you.” 

Although she only served as the Title IX Coordinator for one and a half years, Flack left a positive impact on both the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Colgate community at large, according to Madison. Now, the office must evaluate new candidates who will effectively carry out the same responsibilities that Flack previously did. 

As outlined by Colgate’s Non-Discrimination and Title IX Policy, “the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer oversee implementation of the policy and processes for responding to complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination, discriminatory harassment and other violations of this policy.” 

In looking for replacement candidates, Madison said she and her team plan to look to members of Colgate’s community for help in narrowing down possible individuals. 

“We have already posted the position on our website, and will soon be looking to identify members of the search committee in short order and aim to have representatives from the Dean of the College and students to help search for a new Title IX Coordinator,” Madison said. 

Madison noted that the office expects to have its new Title IX Coordinator by the 2023 spring semester. In the meantime, Madison will serve as the acting replacement for this position. 

“While the title of Acting Title IX Coordinator is a new one for me at Colgate, I have significant experience earlier in my career serving as a Title IX Coordinator [at DePauw University], and I have been engaged in conversations about Title IX since my arrival at Colgate,” Madison said. “However, now I will be more directly involved in our efforts to respond to concerns raised about sexual harassment, assault and relationship violence, and overseeing our adjudication process, as well as prevention and bystander education and training.”

In the Oct. 31 email, Madison emphasized that during this transitional period, there are a number of resources available to students for the prevention and adjudication of sexual violence. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator positions will be filled by Kim Taylor, dean for administrative advising and student conduct, and Kimberly Keenan-Kirkpatrick, Esq., interim head cross country coach. According to the email, the responsibilities of this position will be split; Taylor will be available to students for questions on reporting, resources and support, while Keenan-Kirkpatrick will field student questions about the formal adjudication process.

In addition to these officers, other confidential resources are the Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG), Colgate’s sexual violence survivor support center, the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of the Chaplains, Student Health Services, Help Restore Hope and the staff at Haven.

The Assistant Director of Haven, Michele Passonno, emphasized Haven as a continued resource for students on campus amidst faculty change in the Title IX Office. 

“The Haven staff remains steadfast in our responsibility and commitment to supporting survivors and want to make sure students know that we remain available to them regardless of this change in staffing,” Passonno said. “I know my colleagues in the Counseling Center, Administrative Advising, Student Health Services, and the Chaplaincy would also want students to know that this transition in the Title IX Coordinator doesn’t change the level of support they offer to students.”

In addition, sophomore and Haven ambassador Meghan Subak expressed her confidence in the resources available during this transition. 

“Haven does so much work to serve as a safe resource against sexual violence for the community,” Subak said. “So along with the other organizations and Madison as an acting Title IX officer, I hope that Colgate students will still feel supported.”

Madison reiterates this hope, and as the acting Title IX Coordinator, she said she looks forward to the opportunity to work with students and colleagues in their efforts to eliminate sexual violence.