IOA Files Public Comment in Response to the Department of Education Proposed Rulemaking Related to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

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In May, the IOA Board of Directors created the Title IX Response ad hoc Committee and tasked the committee with developing recommendations with respect to policy, laws, and regulations related to Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Clery Act, and other Acts that impact the ability of Ombudsmen to be confidential resources.

The committee provided several recommendations including two time-sensitive suggestions for the Board to take action on:
1) Issue a public comment on behalf of IOA in response to the Department of Education Proposed Rulemaking Related to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (Docket ID ED-2013-OPE-0124) and
2) Enlist the services of Chuck Howard to review and revise the comment prior to submission at the close of the comment period on July 21.  

We issued this public comment because the current version of VAWA does not mention Organizational Ombudsmen; this comment serves to introduce the Ombudsman profession to decision-makers and recommends that Organizational Ombudsmen be listed as confidential resources related to matters covered by VAWA.     

The public comment is attached for your reference and it has been posted under the External Communications section (members only) of the IOA website. The committee and the Board of Directors encourage members to use this document to support efforts on your campuses to establish Organizational Ombudsmen as confidential resources. This issue is of special interest to our colleagues in the academic sector, but the Board is committed to supporting all members.  While this issue may be specific to U.S.-based academic Ombudsmen, we are aware that the issues of confidentiality of our offices and our profession impact all of us. 

The entire Board of Directors is very grateful for the amount of work the Committee has done in such a short period of time and commend them for their efforts. The Title IX Response ad hoc Committee is continuing its work and will provide additional recommendations and resources to both the Board of Directors and members of IOA.  

We acknowledge this is a stressful time for many of our academic colleagues and we are working to provide resources to support you. If you have suggestions, or feedback, or if you’re interested in volunteering time to future tasks performed by the committee, please feel free to contact Lisa Witzler, the committee’s liaison to the Board of Directors, or Rick Koepke, IOA’s executive director. 

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