The following statement was made by The Nevada Faculty Alliance and was sent to NSHE leadership on Oct. 10, 2023. The original statement can be found on the NFA website here.
In December 2022, the State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance wrote a letter to UNR President Brian Sandoval expressing our concerns about the Title IX Office at the university but received no response. Now, multiple highly concerning lawsuits against UNR have come to light, drawing the attention of local media and UNR students alike. Active suits against NSHE institutions allege mishandling of various Title IX violations, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The media attention further damages NSHE’s reputation and the ability of its institutions to recruit and retain talented faculty.
In addition to the cases at UNR, we have also been made aware of a case at UNLV that was delayed seven months before any action was taken. The case also alleges retaliation against the faculty member who filed the Title IX complaint. It now appears there is a pattern where NSHE institutions attempt to suppress these cases instead of taking appropriate action to protect all parties. Even worse, we have received reports of faculty being subjected to disciplinary action after filing a complaint.
The NFA urges Interim Chancellor Charlton and the Board of Regents to hold institutions accountable and correct these serious deficiencies in the operation of Title IX and equal opportunity offices. Our letter last year requested specific actions at UNR reiterated below. It is now apparent that these actions must be adopted across the entire system.
- Provide reports to the community with essential information on how the Title IX and equal opportunity offices function. The University of Michigan’s report provides an outstanding model to follow.
- Commission a qualified law firm that specializes in equal rights protections to conduct an audit of the Title IX offices and produce a public report with recommendations for improvement.
- Establish public policies, in line with federal guidance, for which roles institutional administrators, general counsels, and HR managers can play in Title IX hearings and the functioning of the offices.
- Make it a priority to fully staff the offices, including a sufficient number of investigators to handle caseloads in a timely manner.
- Provide guidance on types of cases that should be referred to campus units other than the Title IX office and ensure that those units have the resources to handle the cases.
- Implement policies that hold institutional administrators and other employees accountable for violating prohibitions on intervening in Title IX and other proceedings. Accountability should include denial of indemnification and immunity in cases of misconduct by administrators.
The 2023 Nevada Legislature passed, and Governor Lombardo signed, AB245, a bill brought forward by NSHE students to address sexual misconduct issues and to create the Task Force on Power-based Violence at Institutions of Higher Education. The previous NSHE Task Force on Sexual Misconduct failed to take significant proactive measures to improve the function of campus Title IX offices. We cannot afford for this new task force to repeat the same mistakes.
The State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance
Jim New, President and TMCC Chapter President
Shantal Marshall, Vice President
Cheryl Cardoza, Treasurer
Kent Ervin, Past President
Ted Chodock, CSN Chapter President
Pete Martini, NSU Chapter President
Doug Unger, UNLV Chapter President
Todd Ruecker, UNR Chapter President
Heather Reardon, WNC Chapter President
The above statement was made by The Nevada Faculty Alliance. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Nevada Sagebrush or its staff. For any questions regarding the statement please reach out to email@example.com.