The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

What to Expect When the OCR Investigates

The last thing Karen Briggs, associate vice president and chief human resources officer at San Diego University, expected the institution to receive was an investigation notice from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Yet, that’s exactly what happened last spring.

At the CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo 2015, Briggs shared her insight into OCR investigations, how the university has tackled the monumental task and what other institutions should expect were they to be subject to an investigation.

Put together a strategy. Because a quick response is required, it is necessary to prepare a strategy. For the University of San Diego, the first task was contacting legal counsel and then pulling a team together to work on the investigation from start to finish.

Establish a communications strategy. Today’s media and social networking outlets make communication more important than ever. Pull together members of various departments: student Affairs, Public Safety, Student Conduct and Communications to determine how to stay proactive in communicating with the community, media and others.

Take time to collect information. The university did not have a centralized tracking system for Title IX complaints, which made tracking down reports from departments difficult and time-consuming. Whether a centralized tracking system is in place or not, expect to spend an exorbitant amount of time collecting and processing documentation from prior years.

Expect to be overwhelmed. The deadline to respond is short, and the list for required documentation is long. It’s no surprise that this can be a stressful time.

Additional resources:

Title IX Toolkit in the CUPA-HR Knowledge Center
“Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Title IX Coordinator?” On-Demand Webinar