President Michael Drake sat down with with members of The Lantern for his semesterly interview on March 5. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Ohio State University President Michael Drake gave more insight into the new Title IX office, the Office of Institutional Equity, in an interview with The Lantern on Tuesday. Drake highlighted how he expects the office to be structured and the status of the search for its leader.

Drake said the OIE is supposed to be a single location where students, faculty and staff have a place to get advice and guidance on an issue of concern, and can then be directed to the appropriate resources.

“I’d like ultimately for us to have a clear place where you can go and then learn about the options you have available and to take advantage of those in the way that you wish,” Drake said.

OIE will take the place of the Sexual Civility and Empowerment unit that was closed in June. The office will be a centralized reporting center that seeks to connect resources for sexual assault survivors who are seeking help on- and off-campus, Ryan Schmiesing, vice provost for the Office of Outreach and Engagement, said in an announcement from the university.

Drake said that once the office is fully established, a variety of actions can take place there, and that he hopes the office can be a place for anyone that has an issue to have a streamlined place to go for help.

The hope for the office is that it can be a place “where people can go to get advice and guidance on an issue of concern, and to know what the implications of and the mechanisms of reporting are, who to report to to get the outcome that you wish, and to be able to be supportive in that,” Drake said.

Schmiesing said in the announcement that the office will aim to provide coordinated intake and outreach support; help survivors access on- and off-campus resources and provide consistent information about policies and resolution options; and to monitor trends on campus.

The office is intended to handle all forms of discrimination and harassment, including that of race, ethnicity and disability, according to the announcement.

With search for the head of the office underway, Drake said they do not have a set date for the hire, but he hopes that it will be done soon.
When asked what the university is looking for in the leader of the office, he said they are looking for someone who is a national expert on the matters of the office, such as the facilities, policies and procedures that are available to assist people who come to the office.

“We want to be really outstanding in this area, we’re a large community, larger than most, and as a larger than most community, we have to have services that are appropriate for that,” Drake said. “We’re looking for a real national leader in this realm.”