UMD’s Title IX office will now report to the diversity and inclusion VP

Susquehanna Hall houses UMD's Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct. (Elliot Scarangello/For The Diamondback)

Starting Monday, the University of Maryland’s diversity and inclusion vice president will assume responsibility of the school’s Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, which handles Title IX investigations at the university.

“Title IX offices at universities across the country continue to evolve and grow, and I believe this change is a necessary next step for our university to do the same,” wrote Georgina Dodge, the diversity and inclusion vice president, in an email sent to the campus community Thursday afternoon.

Grace Karmiol, who began as OCRSM’s director in March, will remain its director, said university spokesperson Natifia Mullings.

[Read more: UMD names Bucknell CDO Georgina Dodge its new diversity and inclusion VP]

In 2017, former OCRSM director Catherine Carroll was reassigned from reporting directly to university President Wallace Loh’s chief of staff to reporting to the school’s general counsel. She viewed it as a “demotion,” according to then-SGA president AJ Pruitt, and resigned less than a year later.

Both OCSRM and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion have seen high turnover in recent years. Before Dodge was hired, ODI had four leaders or interim leaders over a span of three years. One of those was interim chief diversity officer Roger Worthington, who stepped down last summer after little over a year on the job. Later, he publicly criticized the administration for not allowing him to communicate effectively with the campus community during his time in the role.

[Read more: UMD’s Title IX office is getting help from a private firm amid staffing shortages]

OCRSM has been plagued by staffing and budget shortages since it was created in 2014. Earlier this year, the university brought on a private firm, Husch Blackwell, to help handle Title IX investigations. In September, it brought on a new investigator, and elevated two part-time staffers to full-time.

“I don’t want to be promoting our office out there as this resource when we’re not adequately staffed to respond to the need,” Carroll said in 2016.

CORRECTION: Due to a source error, a previous version of this story stated ODI would absorb OCRSM, similar to the relationship between Nyumburu Cultural Center and the LGBT Equity Center. ODI will not absorb the office, but OCRSM will report to the diversity and inclusion vice president. This story and its headline have been updated.

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