President Neil D. Theobald has named Valerie I. Harrison the Senior Advisor to the President for Compliance to strengthen the university’s compliance efforts.
Harrison will focus on diversity, equity, and Title IX with the intent to better educate Temple University students on sexual misconduct behavior in order to create a more safe and healthy environment on campus. With nearly two decades of leadership experience in higher education, Harrison will assemble a team to work tirelessly on developing and coordinating the university’s efforts to educate the community.
“Because this area is so important to us, we are hiring a Title IX coordinator just to focus on sexual misconduct to help us with investigations, to make sure that we’re responding to complaints in an efficient and timely manner,” Senior Advisor of the President for Compliance Valerie I. Harrison said.
With sexual misconduct being a major crisis on college campuses nationwide, President Theobald and Harrison are continuing to look for new ways to educate the Temple community. One of the most recent ideas they implemented was to engage all students in a 30-minute online education program called “The Way Forward,” a sexual misconduct training program. This used to be a requirement for incoming freshman only, but the idea to expand the program was more intriguing.
“We’ve expanded the training program as you know,” Harrison said. “Not just freshman have to take this annual training, but upperclassmen as well. There has been a lot of energy from the White House, from the Department of Education, to bring this in.”
“The Way Forward” online training program is mandatory for all students to complete before the end of the 2015-16 academic school year. Failure to do so will put a temporary hold on student transcripts until the program is completed.
In 2014, President Barack Obama launched an “It’s on Us” campaign, ordering for all schools nationwide to raise awareness and help put an end to sexual misconduct on college campuses. While that has certainly been a positive, Harrison says President Theobald is an “out of the box” thinker and wants to take this to another level at Temple.
“In the area of sexual misconduct, he doesn’t want us just to meet the minimum requirements that the law requires for compliance, but he wants us to be an innovator in this area. He wants this to be a university that you can go to for best practices, so we’re going to do some things differently.”
The Department of Education and The Office of Equal Opportunity for Compliance (EOC) will work together to provide continuous education on this subject.
One of the main changes will be to coordinate efforts efforts in a better way to take advantage of efficiencies so that the university can be a leader in the Philadelphia area. In this case, Harrison assures that more training will be available for students.
“We’re going to be offering additional training; bystander intervention training, what is consent training, escalation workshops, so that you can start identifying early signs of abuse. These things will be made available as well. So in addition to the mandatory online training, we are going to offer a lot of optional training and programs to educate the community.”