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OU announces hiring of new Title IX coordinator

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Shaniqua Crawford will become OU's new Title IX coordinator on Dec. 1, pending Board of Regents approval.

OU President Joseph Harroz announced the hiring of a new Title IX coordinator Tuesday in an email to the university community.

Shaniqua Crawford, the Title IX coordinator and director of equity at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, will become OU’s Title IX coordinator — as well as the university’s institutional equity and equal opportunity officer — starting Dec. 1 pending approval from the OU Board of Regents, according to the email.

According to the OU Board of Regents' website, the next meeting is not scheduled until Jan. 7.

Crawford replaces interim coordinator Faustina Layne, who entered the position after the resignation of former OU Title IX Coordinator Bobby Mason in April. During Mason’s tenure the Title IX office was criticized by several students for its handling of their reports and a lack of transparency during investigations. Mason resigned to accept a position as Texas State University’s first chief compliance officer.

“In her new role at OU, (Crawford) will lead the Institutional Equity Office, overseeing the university’s affirmative action and equal opportunity compliance efforts, as well as investigating complaints of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment,” Harroz wrote in the email. 

Crawford spent just under two years in her role at Lawrence University — a campus of roughly 1,500 students — which she accepted after serving as deputy Title IX coordinator investigator at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with roughly 14,000 students to the 27,782 enrolled at OU’s Norman campus at the start of the fall 2020 semester.  

“At Lawrence, she has led the institution’s Title IX compliance efforts, developing partnerships across the university to position the office as a resource for all members of the campus community,” Harroz wrote in the email. “Her work to establish trust in the Title IX Office was supported by her efforts to reinvigorate campuswide participation in initiatives related to Title IX and diversity and inclusion.”

Crawford also has experience directing diversity and inclusion efforts, according to the email, which Harroz has emphasized as his top priority during his time as OU’s interim and now-permanent president.

Crawford’s hire comes amid changes to OU Title IX regulations in response to changes from the U.S. Department of Education on the definition of sexual harassment and the steps universities must take when approaching Title IX cases.

Crawford earned a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Georgia Southern University and a juris doctorate from the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law, according to the email.

She was also named one of the “49 most influential Black leaders in Wisconsin” by Madison 365, a nonprofit news outlet serving Wisconsin’s communities of color.

Harroz praised Crawford’s demeanor and accomplishments in the email and wrote he hopes she will help bring change to the university.

“Throughout her professional endeavors, (Crawford) has been an accessible, collaborative leader who approaches her role with professionalism and diligence,” Harroz wrote. “We look forward to working alongside her to build lasting change here at OU.”

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