A new team at Central Michigan University will continue the fight against sexual misconduct with a focus on training, education, support services, prevention programming and resources.
CMU President Bob Davies announced the Presidential Title IX Advisory Board in a letter Thursday calling for community leadership in a national crisis.
"We can, as a community, make a difference — here at CMU, in our region, in our state — and set the example," Davies wrote. "We must stay together, and we must take action."
Davies will appoint advisory board members from among CMU's Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates, Counseling Center, Council of Deans, CARE Team, Office of Student Conduct, Athletics, Residence Life, Greek Life, CMU Police, Office of Student Success, Student Ombuds Office and Student Government Association. He also will select faculty and others who could provide insight and ideas.
“We need to engage members of the campus community and get them involved.” — Katherine Lasher, advisory board leader
Katherine Lasher, CMU Title IX coordinator and executive director of the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, will lead the new board, which will report directly to Davies.
Lasher is eager for the board to begin its work this fall, dovetailing with OCRIE's efforts across campus.
"I want this to be collaborative," she said. "We need to engage members of the campus community and get them involved."
Among other tasks, the board will help expand training curricula and develop a campus resource/support team to foster due process for complainants and respondents.
CMU is recognized as a leader in responding to sexual misconduct and related issues. In the 1970s, the university was among the first institutions in the nation to establish an office dedicated to civil rights and equity.
Advocates at CMU also founded SAPA, now a national model, more than 20 years ago. SAPA provides educational programs and trains student peer advocates to respond to confidential sexual misconduct crisis calls. Every year, SAPA alumni from around the country return to CMU to help train new advocates.
Davies said such efforts, including creation of the advisory board, reflect campus culture.
"CMU's core values are integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and innovation," he said. "Each of these, along with our leadership standards, implore us to lead, be courageous, be accountable and be proactive.
"Now is the time we put those words, phrases and thoughts into action."