By Lianna Hubbard
FSW filled a new position, equal opportunity investigator, this semester, in response to Title IX rules the college expects to come.
Trista Kelly-Thompson was selected as the new investigator from a pool of around 70 applicants in August.
The equal opportunity office confronts all forms of discrimination among FSW students and staff, including Title IX.
“The most important piece for me was [hiring] someone who knows how to investigate these types of cases,” said Jana Sabo, the chief equity officer and Title IX coordinator.
“I like being able to have a position that has an impact on people’s lives. I like doing wok that actually matters instead of work that’s just going to increase profit somewhere,” said Kelly-Thompson. “I like to be the person in the middle advocating for both sides.”
Kelly-Thompson began her career while pursuing a hospitality degree at University of Nebraska. She got an internship in the state’s Human Resources department and loved the work.
Out of college, she got a job in the Nebraska State Equity Office, where she gained most of her experience.
Currently, Kelly-Thompson is training under Sabo to get accustomed to FSW’s procedures and policies.
When a complaint comes in, Sabo reviews the complaint and reaches out to the parties to see if a formal case needs to be opened. Once a case is opened, then it goes to Kelly-Thompson who investigates to see if a school policy has been breached.
Until this semester, Sabo was the one who received the complaint, investigated it, and decided if a policy was breached.
“You don’t want one person just being the only eyes on that,” said Sabo. “I think we’re going to have to [split the duties] anyway but it’s the right thing to do for the institution.”
Proposed Title IX regulations the United States Department of Education released in November, said the duties needed to be split. The proposed rules have not been enacted yet, FSW is planning ahead.
“We are anticipating that what will come out of these regulations is we will be told we cannot use a single administrator type of investigation,” said Sabo.
More changes could come when these new regulations are official, but FSW is not planning to make any more changes to the equity office now.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Kelly-Thompson.