On Oct. 22nd, Sonoma State welcomed a new member to the Title IX team, Sarah Clegg, as the new Title IX coordinator.
Clegg has been a Principle or Senior Title IX investigator for over five years, and has advanced certification as a Title IX Coordinator and Civil Rights Investigator from the Association for the Title IX Administrators (ATIXA). Clegg said, “Prior to working in Title IX, I worked for several years as a Student Conduct administrator, where I also investigated and adjudicated student sexual misconduct complaints.”
Clegg mentioned there are several challenges being Title IX Director, but some of the biggest are, “keeping up with constantly changing deferral or external guidelines, and helping people understand and/or battling misconceptions about what the purpose of a Title IX office truly is.” Because the Title IX department did not have a permanent director for months, Clegg recognizes that it’s challenging to have a turnover in staff especially with a position like this one taking a while to fill, but she gives an enormous amount of credit to her colleague, Jesse Andrews, who kept things running as a one-man office. Clegg said, “Title IX Services are not ‘behind’ thanks to his incredible efforts and that really gives us an opportunity to move forward with some exciting value-added initiatives in the future.”
Sonoma State is still in the process of hiring another full time Title IX investigator.
Sarah’s favorite part of being Title IX Director is that she feels she provides a vital service to members of the university community.
“I also see Title IX as a part of history, and to be able to do work every day that is tied to the history of higher education is very meaningful.
I’m able to try and help people remove obstacles in the way of achieving success. That is worth getting out of bed for every day, no matter how difficult the work is.”
Clegg has received a very warm welcome from everyone at Sonoma State and says that the friendly and open feeling on campus is one of the things she loved when she first interviewed at the school.
She has previously lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia. Clegg worked at two very different universities–a small private school, and a large public institution.
“Professionally, this gave me a breadth of experience that was invaluable. Living and working in the Metro Atlanta area also allowed me to work an incredibly diverse community of students and employees, which I remain grateful for,” she said.
She went on to say how the history of Atlanta in the Civil Rights movement is still a big part of the city, “which made working as an equity specialist, investigating harassment and discrimination a very humbling experience.”
The constant goal of the Title IX department is to fulfill the premise of the California executive orders and work towards providing a campus environment free from harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence. Clegg says, “We will do that by continuing to investigate complaints, and providing proactive programming and initiatives such as training and education to the campus. I think there are great things to come from this office and I’m excited about the possibilities.”
As defined on the Sonoma State Title IX page, “Title IX is a federal law that aims to prevent sexual assault and harassment on college campuses, and ensures students’ basic rights.” Through Title IX, students can report instances such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination, stalking, as well as dating and domestic violence. Through Title IX, one can expect an educational environment that is free from sexual violence and harassment, reasonable academic accommodations, and an internal investigation of reported incidents.