DEI Task Force, Open House, and Title IX

This message has been updated to reflect the updated DEI Task Force application deadline of October 4, 2021, and to note that the date of the first meeting is TBD.

Dear OU Community: 

Welcome back to campus! It has been such a pleasure to see so many of you in person, and I hope the new year is off to a great a start. Below, I would like to provide a few updates from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Open House / Coffee with the Office of DEI

Please join me for coffee and other refreshments on Monday, September 20th from 1-2 p.m. in the TLCC Trustee Room. This is an informal gathering to meet with members of the campus community and learn about initiatives from the Office of DEI.  Feel free to drop in for a few minutes to say hello or stay for the full hour. All are welcome. 

DEI Task Force: Call for Applications

I invite faculty, staff, and students to apply for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. The Task Force will play a crucial role in creating and sustaining an inclusive campus community. Members will work with the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to identify, develop, and implement strategies that move our campus forward. Faculty and staff applicants should be prepared to serve at least a two-year term. A limited number of one-year terms will be available. The Task Force will meet on the first Monday of each month at 1 p.m. The first meeting will occur after the application deadline and selections are made.

2021-2022 Priorities for the DEI Task Force include the following: 

  • OU Diversity Strategic Plan 
  • Campus Culture and Sense of Belonging 
  • Community Engagement and Partnerships 

To apply, please submit a 1-page letter of interest to [email protected]. In the letter, explain your role on campus, commitment to DEI, and interest in serving on the task force. All faculty (full-time and part-time), staff, and students are welcome to apply. The Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will make the final selections. Application deadline: Monday, October 4, 2021.

New Title IX Coordinator: Miriam Smith

I am pleased to announce that Miriam Smith has been named Senior Director of Title IX and Equity at Oglethorpe University. In this role, she will handle complaints of sex and gender-based discrimination as well as other complaints of unlawful discrimination including sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, pregnancy, national origin, disability, or other individual characteristics protected by federal and state law. Miriam is the university’s designated Title IX Coordinator and will report to the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Miriam currently serves as the Director of Accessibility Services. In her time at OU, she has worked on both the academic affairs side of the house as well as student affairs, serving as a liaison between housing and Oglethorpe’s first year advising program as well as the Assistant Director of Academic Success and Accessibility Services. She has a MS from Georgia State University in Educational Psychology and BA in Psychology from Sewanee: The University of the South.  

Students, staff, and faculty can contact Miriam at [email protected] to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment, seek supportive measures (whether or not you file a complaint), report an incident that took place within an Oglethorpe educational program or activity, or ask questions about Title IX policies and procedures. 

In addition to handling investigations and resolutions, the Senior Director the Title IX and Equity will also host programs, events, and other educational opportunities to help foster a campus culture that is free of sex and gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct and relationship violence. 

Miriam is currently leading the search for an Accessibility Services Coordinator, and this position will report to her. Miriam will continue to handle accommodations until this position is filled. 

Please join me in congratulating Miriam on her new role! 

Laura Renée Chandler, PhD (she/her) 
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion