University launches Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, other new initiatives

Friday, March 18, 2022

To further demonstrate and reinforce UNC Charlotte’s commitment to ensuring that students and employees experience a welcoming campus, the University is launching a new Office of Civil Rights and Title IX.  This new office will provide faculty, staff and students with a centralized reporting structure for receiving and resolving reports of sexual misconduct, racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination and harassment. The changes will be effective July 1, 2022. 

Michelle Reinken, Ph.D., the current director of Title IX compliance and Title IX coordinator, will lead the office. Part of the Division of Institutional Integrity, Reinken will maintain independent reporting lines to both Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber and the Board of Trustees (BOT). 

“UNC Charlotte is committed to offering a welcoming, safe and supportive environment for all of our students, faculty and staff,” said Gaber. “Over the last year, we have listened to the needs and concerns of our campus community, and this new office was designed with that feedback in mind. It will promote campuswide consistency in how reports of harassment and discrimination are received, directed, investigated and resolved.”

The new office is part of a series of recent changes Gaber and the Division of Institutional Integrity have made in consultation with students and employees. 

With support from the BOT, the University will launch mandatory sexual and interpersonal misconduct training for all members of the UNC Charlotte community. The Office of Civil Rights and Title IX will be responsible for developing the content of that training, building on the success of the University’s award-winning Niners Know training. 

Additionally, University has significantly strengthened University Policy 101.3, “Amorous Relationships between Students and Faculty Members or Other University Employees.” The changes explicitly prohibit faculty from having amorous relationships with undergraduate students and requires immediate disclosure of amorous relationships with graduate students in the same department or affiliated with the same graduate or professional programs. The changes were made in consultation with the Faculty Council. The University is further reviewing its policies related to discrimination and harassment to incorporate the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX and to develop user-friendly procedures that can be easily accessed and understood by members of the UNC Charlotte community.

The University’s incident reporting form was recently updated and a link to the form was placed on the bottom of all University web pages to ensure members of the campus community can easily report concerns. 

“This work is not easy, but it is deeply important,” said Gaber. “These changes are evidence of what is possible with open communication and a commitment to collaboration and solutions by members of our campus community.”