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OU Title IX under review, says interim OU President Joseph Harroz

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Title IX Office (copy)

The OU Sexual Misconduct Office and Institutional Equity and Title IX Office pictured at Four Partners Place Jan. 30, 2017.

OU’s Title IX office is currently being reviewed, interim OU President Joseph Harroz told The Daily after the June 27 OU Board of Regents meeting

Harroz said the university has been reviewing Title IX and had been before he was selected as interim president May 17.

“Part of the conversation was at any time that you have an office like Title IX where there is a good deal of change and guidance, it’s an area you’re always improving on,” Harroz said. “One of the questions I asked when I came in was ‘are we doing that,’ and the answer was yes.”

It remains unclear how the review, which was first reported by NonDoc the morning before the June 27 meeting, may affect the office or its policies.

Harroz said while he knows the review is in progress, he has not been informed about how much progress has been made, or what has been identified as a potential change to be made.

“I’ve yet to get a status update on where the particulars are. It’s something I know was in progress that I’m going to be a part of, and that we’ll be speaking to specifically,” Harroz said. “I don’t have the exact state of where it is or the exact time when it began, but it is ongoing, it’s something that we know is part of any healthy process for an areas as important as Title IX.”

At the regents’ April 26 meeting, Jess Eddy and Levi Hilliard, two former OU students who have accused Boren and Hall of sexual misconduct, called for the OU Board of Regents to review their Title IX policies after the regents spent nearly six hours in executive session before releasing no new information regarding the university’s investigations of Boren and Hall.

Eddy told The Daily June 27 he had not known a review was underway before reading NonDoc’s report.

“That was news to me,” Eddy said. “I don’t understand why it wasn’t made public earlier or why it hasn’t been made public. That would seem to reflect something positive that the university is doing to try to address what’s happening so I don’t know why they kept that under wraps, but I guess I’m glad joe shared that with the public.”

Eddy said the review should change aspects present in the OU Title IX policies that can lead to uncertainty about how the office will handle victim’s claims from case to case.

“The policy the people in Title IX and the university have to follow just left me very uncomfortable,” Eddy said, “and I think it leaves all parties to an instance of misconduct uncomfortable – mandatory reporters, witnesses and victims. It really takes away from the credibility of the office overall.”

Procedural issues in the Title IX office have lead to a lack of trust for the office and its leadership among the OU community, Eddy said.

Eddy said OU Title IX should “do their due diligence” even after individuals separate from OU. When Boren resigned as president emeritus, OU Board of Regents Chairman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes said it ended the university’s involvement in the matter.

“There’s nothing in the policy that would suggest that,” Eddy said. “We understand that Title IX can’t throw David Boren in jail, but they have every ability to continue an investigation, to make findings and then to release those findings.”

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