Darci Heroy to continue improving sexual assault response and prevention as permanent Title IX Coordinator
On Feb. 27, 2015, University of Oregon protesters marched into Johnson Hall with signs and shouts, demanding that the university change its treatment of sexual assault victims. On that day, the administrators responded by locking doors and refusing to answer phones.
Since then, UO administration has responded to student unrest with a slow but steady trickle of changes in sexual assault prevention and response.
Their latest step indicates that those changes won’t cease anytime soon. On Aug. 23, the university announced that Darci Heroy will become the permanent Associate Vice President and Title IX Coordinator.
Heroy was originally encouraged to apply for her position during the university’s national search for a permanent coordinator, but she declined. She enjoyed running her own consulting business and being able to spend time at home with her toddler, she wrote in an email to the Emerald. Roughly a year and a half later, she changed her mind.
“I became very invested in the work that I had accomplished at UO,” she said. “I ultimately chose to put my own business on hold and continue to focus on the positive changes that I and the Title IX team are making here at the university.”
The position oversees university-wide compliance to Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education. The university created the coordinator position after the protest in Feb. 2015.
Heroy worked as a consultant on Title IX issues for 10 months while the university conducted the national search. The search yielded four candidates, but none were offered the position, and Heroy has acted as the interim coordinator for the last seven months.
In her interim role, Heroy brought changes to UO’s sexual assault prevention and response by implementing workgroups to evolve Title IX programs and drafting a new mandatory reporting policy.
“We’re thrilled to have her on board permanently,” said UO spokesperson Tobin Klinger. “She’s stepped in and helped to move things forward.”
Heroy said that a key challenge of her position is coordinating individuals and their efforts across such a large institution.
Because Heroy has to work with both students and administration, Women and Gender Studies student Sophie Albanis was concerned Heroy might be less loyal to students upon taking the interim position.
“It was something I was really cautious about because she had worked for the university previously,” said Albanis, who is also a leader of the student-run Organization Against Sexual Assault. “I don’t think anything has transpired that’s validated that fear. She’s done a fine job so far. It was time for some new leadership in that office.”
Among her goals for the position, Heroy lists taking “a hard look at where we need to improve, how we can be more compassionate and inclusive and how we can continue to remove barriers to reporting.” She also aims to invite “diverse experiences and views into our policymaking and implementation processes.”
Albanis believes that allowing an open discussion of Title IX issues — between students, faculty and administration — will be key to solving them.
“More efforts to engage students in [policymaking] would be really valuable,” Albanis said. “As someone who has organized events on campus in regard to sexual assault, it’s very rare that an administrator will show up.”
Heroy hears that concern loud and clear. She said she invites anyone to contact her with questions, concerns and ideas.
“Don’t be surprised to see me showing up at classes or functions,” she added.
A print version of this article published on September 6, 2016, had an error attributing the quote, ” ‘As someone who has organized events on campus in regard to sexual assault, it’s very rare that an administrator will show up,’ ” to Darci Heroy. Heroy did not say this. Sophie Albanis who is also mentioned in the article is the one who stated the aforementioned quotation. The Emerald regrets this error.