CSUMB president's statement on Title IX/DHR report
July 17, 2023
(Emailed on July 17, 2023)
Dear CSUMB community,
Today the California State University Chancellor’s Office has released the full written report of the systemwide Cozen O’Connor Title IX/DHR assessment, including an executive summary report about the system and a separate report concerning California State University, Monterey Bay. The reports can now be found on the CSU’s Commitment to Change and the CSUMB (link) websites, along with the Cozen O’Connor initial overview of their assessment from the May Board of Trustees meeting. (View a recording of the presentation here: https://youtu.be/37GVdhqjn5o. Cozen section begins at 23:15.)
In a statement shared this morning, Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester had the following to say: “The systemwide and university recommendations outlined in this report provide a pathway that moves us from where we have fallen short to a stronger and more vital university system. To bring about meaningful, authentic and sustained change, the entire Cal State community must walk this path together. We will not squander this opportunity. We will get this right. The CSU's mission and core values demand it and our community deserves it."
As President of CSUMB, I agree that the findings summarized on pages 4-6 of the campus report are serious in nature, and we must do better to ensure we have an inclusive and welcoming community for all our students, faculty, staff and campus community members. At our campus, we have already begun proactive work to strengthen our Title IX/DHR infrastructure, and we will continue our efforts to enhance our processes in the coming year, as well as to collaborate with the Chancellor’s Office on systemwide improvements.
Cozen O’Connor Recommendations and State Audit
Cozen O’Connor released both a full systemwide and individual campus reports this morning. The nearly 60-page campus report includes a thorough analysis of practices and processes at CSUMB along with recommendations for areas of improvement.
CSUMB received recommendations from the Cozen O’Connor campus report for improvements in five key areas that will address the findings summarized in the report. These areas for recommended improvements include:
- Infrastructure and Resources
- Strengthening Internal Protocols
- Prevention, Education, Professional Development, Training, and Awareness
- Responding to Other Conduct of Concern
In addition to the report from Cozen O’Connor, the California State Auditor has completed an audit of the CSU related to sexual harassment complaints, which will be released July 18 and will be available online. While we have not yet seen the state audit findings, we are committed to reviewing the results of the audit and prioritizing the recommendations from both documents.
Although initially created to support the Cozen O’Connor recommendations, we will charge the CSUMB Title IX implementation team with also overseeing any recommendations that might be generated from the state audit.
Our next steps will be to prioritize the recommendations from both documents so that we can continue building a stronger future for all members of our campus community and our system.
Progress to Date
Our campus has been working to address our own processes around Title IX and Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (DHR) since our initial visit with Cozen O’Connor representatives in December 2022. Some of the changes we have made that align with the recommendations in the report include:
- Initial restructuring of the Title IX/DHR office, including the appointment of Raquel Bonilla as interim senior director for Title IX/DHR.
- Restructured the office to create a new position that separates out the duties of Clery officer for more focus on Title IX/DHR duties.
- Created an office of Ombuds with an ombudsperson joining the staff in September 2023, and reporting to the Chief Diversity Officer, in order to have an additional resource on campus to support conflict resolution and conduct of concern.
- Formed an implementation team of staff, student, and faculty representatives who have been attending CSU-wide meetings and campus-specific meetings to ensure we continue to make forward progress.
- Updated the CSUMB website in accordance with Title IX/DHR guidelines regarding information about the Title IX/DHR processes and procedures and how to report issues related to Title IX (gender and sex-based discrimination) and the protected categories (DHR)
- Added a link to the reporting tool that is accessible at the bottom of every page within the CSUMB website.
- Updated the reporting tool for clearer communication and understanding for those who are submitting a report to distinguish between categories of complaints and provide tracking of patterns analysis, as well as other specific information to investigators.
- Completed review of all pending reports and revised documents.
This is the starting point of our work, and we will continue with this momentum even though we understand that our ongoing work will be challenging. My trust, full support and thanks go to the implementation team members who will invest their time, energy and expertise in this vital effort so important to all of us. Our ambitious goals will require substantial planning, additional resources and personnel, and will be accomplished in stages.
As we collectively digest the findings in the report and the state audit, and their implications for our campus, we will be scheduling two voluntary Zoom sessions as safe spaces for faculty and staff to share their thoughts on the findings and recommendations, as well as an in-person town hall in the fall for all faculty, staff and students. These sessions will be held on:
- July 24, at 11 a.m. (Zoom session)
- Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. (Zoom session)
- Sept. 7, at 2 p.m. (in-person Town Hall)
The members of the Title IX implementation team will provide regular updates to their constituents and I will also share our campuswide communications around our implementation planning and progress on recommendations from both documents. The leadership team will also continue to hold cabinet office hours every Thursday, from 10-11 a.m. in the Administration Building conference room and once-a-month Coffee with the President and Interim Provost, and faculty and staff are always welcome to drop in and ask questions related to this or any other concerns. Finally, please, also feel free to email us if you have any questions or concerns.
I want to thank everyone on our campus who met with Cozen O’Connor representatives during the last academic year for in-person meetings and who completed the online survey to provide information about our campus Title IX/DHR processes. Your candid feedback and ongoing engagement on difficult subjects will allow us to nurture and strengthen our culture of caring, safety, belonging and respect at CSUMB.
I know that together we will make our Otter Raft stronger.
President, California State University, Monterey Bay