After six months without a permanent director for the Office for Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, the University of Maryland announced Wednesday that the role has been filled.
Grace Karmiol, a former Title IX coordinator at Widener University in Pennsylvania for five years, will begin the position on March 11.
“I’m really looking forward to stepping into the role and serving the campus community,” Karmiol said. “My first priority is getting to know all of the constituencies. I’m really eager to meet with everyone and to partner together and do this important work on behalf of faculty, staff and students.”
Previously, Karmiol worked for 10 years as a civil rights attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She then moved to higher education, working as a human resources manager at American and Oberlin universities.
Karmiol comes into the office after staffing shake ups in the fall. Catherine Carroll, the first and former director, resigned in August to work in Fairfax County Public Schools. Shortly after, the deputy director Leslie Annexstein and two other staffers departed.
While the university searched for a permanent director, the office has been led by interim co-directors Andrea Goodwin, Office of Student Conduct director, and Steve Petkas, a Resident Life associate director. The university also brought on two new staffers in September, though university general counsel Mike Poterala said the office planned to hold off on searches for permanent employees until the next director was in place.
“I’m looking forward to having the chance to evaluate any of the staffing needs, but I want to take my time to make sure I have the right person in the right position to best serve the campus community,” Karmiol said.
Karmiol said she did not yet have a specific number of employees she wished to bring on, and won’t know until she fully assumes the role.
The university has seen its share of controversy for how it handles sexual violence issues. The school is currently under federal investigation for how three of its cases were handled, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Title IX tracker Wednesday afternoon.
When Carroll was in the position, she spoke publicly about how her office was understaffed and underfunded. But Karmiol said she feels she’ll have the resources to be successful in the role.
“I’ve had wonderful meetings with people within the administration and was assured that I would have the resources that I need to work to have a campus free from sexual misconduct,” she said.
University President Wallace Loh touted Karmiol’s “extensive and deep experience in many areas,” and was impressed by her “people skills.”
“She worked very collaboratively with people across the campus,” he said. “She listens well, she’s a collaborator, all the references said she collaborates [well]. Lawyers — it’s a confrontational profession — but she works collaboratively. Basically, I was incredibly impressed. We had some great candidates.”