Title IX training moves forward

Ten Southern employees have now been certified as investigators for Title IX.

In the fall, Missouri Southern made a push to educate faculty, staff and students on Title IX procedures as part of a nationwide movement. Training videos were opened for students to watch and complete, while employees had training sessions and viewed educational videos.

Seven employees received certification in the fall by the Association of Title IX Administrators and this achievement was taken a step further recently when an additional 10 employees received investigator training from Husch Blackwell.

Several things differentiate the standard training from the additional training the new investigators have completed.

‘That’s their sole obligation — all they have to do is contact Dr. Mitchell and say, ‘I have been made aware of this: here is the information I have,”’ said Fullerton in regard to employees who have completed the standard training. “It’s not their responsibility to interview witnesses.”

Investigators will have much greater responsibility when it comes to reports of Title IX violations.

“Once a notification of a Title IX situation comes in, Dr. Mitchell will work with the investigators if it is appropriate,” said Fullerton.

The training for investigators is also much more in-depth.

“Investigators walk through a total background of Title IX, and they also review what falls under Title IX guidelines, which cover a much broader spectrum than what people realize.”

According to Fullerton, the University’s goal was to have enough investigators to avoid a conflict of interest when looking into claims.

“For example, we would never have Rachel Burleson investigate athletics,” said Fullerton. Burleson is the assistant athletic director for administration and compliance.

The addition of more investigators also allows the University to start a prompt investigation even if some of the certified investigators are away from campus.

Fullerton has undergone several of the training sessions and has a firm understanding of the processes, but he said he will never investigate cases.

“I will never serve as an investigator,” said Fullerton. “I would, however, serve on the appeal committee. We want to keep the due process option open for students.” The employees who received investigator status are Ron Mitchell, dean of students; Darren Fullerton, vice president of student affairs; Evan Jewsbury, director of human resources; Judy Wilmoth, human resources and workforce development manager; Lori Musser, coordinator of disability service; Joshua Doak, director of residence life; Samantha Quackenbush, resident director; Ken Kennedy, University police chief; and Rachel Burleson, assistant athletic director for administration and compliance.