Title IX investigation at Roanoke College leads to departure of Dean, interim Head Baseball Coach

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – An independent investigation regarding Roanoke College’s handling of Title IX complaints has lead to the ouster of the College’s Dean of Students and the Interim Head Baseball Coach.

Roanoke College, after receiving a petition that expressed concerns about the college’s handling of Title IX complaints, Roanoke College launched an independent investigation which was led by third party investigator, Karen Michael, Esq.

“We learned that while Roanoke College’s Title IX written policy itself meets legal standards, aspects of its implementation did not meet the College’s expectations or standards for treatment of our students. Roanoke College strives to respect and support our community, especially in times of crisis. It is clear from the investigation results that greater emotional and practical support should have been offered to some victims. We acknowledge and deeply regret the pain of victims and others who were not provided the level of empathy and support they deserved. We acknowledge that a process that adds to the pain victim, and other around them, experience is far from the nurturing environment that Roanoke College aspires to be. For our shortcomings, we are sorry.”

Statement from Roanoke College

Roanoke College provided a summary of outcomes stemming from the results of the investigation which includes:

  • Brian Chisom, Dean of Students, has resigned from Roanoke College. Tom Rambo, Associate Dean and Director of Campus Safety have been named interim Dean of Students. Rambo will remain in this role until a Dean of Students is named.
  • Cam Cassady, interim Head Baseball Coach is no longer with Roanoke College. A new head baseball coach will be named.
  • Aaron Fetrow will remain as interim Title IX Coordinator until a Title IX coordinator is named. The Title IX Coordinator will work with Amy Perkins, Assistant Dean of Students and will train staff and faculty on an ongoing basis.
  • Roanoke College will hire a dedicated victim advocate, who will focus on all matters of victim advocacy and discrimination at the College. The College hopes to have the position filled in 2021.
  • Roanoke College will use a third party to conduct regular campus climate surveys every three years starting in the spring of 2021. The College will include benchmarks for improvement year-after-year.
  • A strong relationship with the local SARA (Sexual Assault Response and Awareness) organization was recommended. Roanoke College has a long-standing relationship with SARA, but the investigation found that this valuable resource was not being utilized to the extent possible. We will further promote the resources available through SARA (education, counseling and other support).

Roanoke College also has pledged to:

  • Create easy, supportive, and accessible ways for students, faculty, and staff to report harassment, assault, and similar issues, regardless of the outcome of any investigation involving responsibility.
  • Work to allow complainants the option of either a male or female to take the initial reports.
  • Provide greater visibility for the training offered and held for students, faculty, and staff in order to help them understand Title IX and related issues.
  • Ensure that all investigators, advocates, and adjudicators are fully trained and qualified.
  • Regularly review Title IX processes at Roanoke College. The College will not assume because is legally compliant that it is working for students.
  • Hold open meetings for faculty, staff, and students regarding Roanoke College’s Title IX processes and procedures. The College will work to determine ways in which Roanoke College students, faculty, and staff can ask anonymous questions regarding matters that Title IX covers. An all-campus information session will be held early in the Spring 2021 semester.
  • Form an alumni advisory group of professionals in fields related to Title IX issues (attorneys, social workers, counselors, Title IX advocates, etc.) for the College to use as a consultative sounding board.
  • Distribute a formal Title IX report from the College to the broader Roanoke College community every three years.

View the full statement from Roanoke College by clicking here.

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