Comprehensive Review Update
Dear Aggie Community,
I would like to update you on actions taken since last week’s announcement regarding two comprehensive reviews – one by an internal task force and another separately by an external third-party – related to sexual assault cases reported on our campus.
- Robin Means-Coleman, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, has been named as chairperson of the internal task force. The task force will include Mr. Kevin McGinnis, Chief Compliance Officer, as well as students, faculty, staff and other members to be confirmed in the near future. Dr. Means-Coleman joined Texas A&M in February of this year and brings a wealth of experience in accountability, climate and equity, and team leadership.
- Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President, will serve as the liaison to the external third-party group conducting the review. Dr. Fierke joined Texas A&M in October 2017. As the second-in-command of the university, Provost Fierke will ensure – as will I – that resources are afforded to the third-party reviewers for thoroughness and expediency in their examination.
- Today, we selected Husch Blackwell LLP, to conduct the external review of our practices related to Title IX sexual assault investigations. Their scope will include, but is not limited to evaluating investigative procedures, sensitivity to trauma, best practices in advocacy, and sanctions. Husch Blackwell has a national reputation serving many universities in this regard, has familiarity with Texas A&M, and will undoubtedly conduct a thorough review. Leaders of this work include:
- Hayley Hanson, a partner with noted expertise in Title IX sexual misconduct and gender equality, compliance and audits, as well as specialty in trauma-informed approaches to investigations and processes; and
- Julie Miceli, a partner and former Deputy General Counsel with the Department of Education, who also has experience working in higher education, and has an extensive background advising on Title IX-related investigations and processes.
We appreciate the many suggestions received to date from current and former students, faculty and staff, community groups and other members of the public.
Feedback to date includes suggestions for improvements in the following areas:
- Support helping individuals navigate through the investigative process and understanding steps along the way;
- Enhanced sensitivity to trauma-related investigations;
- Benchmarking to successful programs at other universities and institutions;
- Implications for all extracurricular activities in which students represent the school; and
- Improved websites and other channels to resources.
Texas A&M is committed to continuous improvement during this process and will consider all the ideas presented as well as the recommendations of the internal and external reviewers. Please continue to send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, which I am reading.
We encourage students wanting support to contact Student Assistance Services at (979) 845-3113 or by visiting the resource page.
Again, we will continue to keep you informed as these efforts progress. Not only do we want to improve Texas A&M in this regard but also want to become the national standard for how cases are handled, how our students are treated, and for the kind of educational environment on our campus.
Michael K. Young