The Equity Specialist reports to the Senior Director of the Office of Equity. The person works with the Associate Vice President for Equity, Senior Director of Equity, campus, and college officials handling materials of a confidential and/or sensitive nature. This position is a full-time, twelve-month staff position.
The Equity Specialist’s primary duty is investigating and responding to complaints of sexual violence, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation that are submitted by students, faculty, and staff. Investigations require in-depth knowledge of Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), and equal employment opportunity laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), Executive Order 11246, and other laws. The individual must (1) conduct fair, timely, unbiased, and thorough investigations, and draft quality investigation reports; (2) serve as a resource person regarding the University’s non-discrimination policies, reasonable accommodation process, investigation process, and regarding other procedural and technical questions from faculty, staff, administrators, and committees, and; (3) maintain consistent communication with Associate Vice President for Equity/Title IX Coordinator, Senior Director of Equity, and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students regarding any emerging trends/concerns, complex investigations, and other highly sensitive and confidential matters. The Equity Investigator will also collaborate with campus offices and partners, including Center for Awareness, Response, and Education (CARE); University Police; Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), and Student Assistance and Support Services (SASS).
Please note: Typical office environment with standard equipment. Position may require travel between Evanston and Chicago campuses and off-campus locations. Duties may require occasional evening and weekend availability.
Collaborate and consult with the Senior Director and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students to review and process Title IX complaints to ensure a prompt, thorough, and equitable response to reports and incidents.
Serve as investigator for matters including, but not limited to, reports of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, stalking, and dating and domestic violence against students, faculty, staff, and third parties. Advise reporting parties and respondents of their rights. Interview the reporting party/parties, respondent(s), and relevant witnesses. Gather relevant evidence. Act as a neutral party through all aspects of investigation and ensure a prompt, fair, and impartial process for all parties. Maintain a high level of confidentiality.
Ensure a well-documented investigative process. Maintain accurate and thorough records and notes of investigatory processes. Compose comprehensive written investigative reports that clearly identify the issues investigated, summarize the evidence, make findings, make credibility determinations, apply relevant policies, and, where appropriate, recommend appropriate remedial steps. May also participate in student hearing panel process as needed.
Provide periodic, timely updates regarding the status of complaints received and investigations in progress to the Senior Director and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinator.Collaborate with the Senior Director and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinator to identify and address any patterns or systemic problems. Work with university stakeholders to ensure Title IX and non-discrimination policies are communicated to all constituencies.
Continuously identifies and integrates best practices with regard to Title IX and discrimination/harassment investigations. Maintains current knowledge of Title IX, VAWA, Title VII, ADA/Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, ADEA, Equal Pay Act, state laws pertaining to discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct, and other laws/regulations pertaining to discrimination/harassment/retaliation.
Independently balances a caseload of multiple/complex Title IX, discrimination/harassment complaints.
Outreach & Education
Conduct training sessions as requested.
Participate in conferences, workshops, trainings, etc. to stay current in field.
Serve on related committees as requested.
Perform other related duties as assigned or requested.
Investigation and outreach duties may require occasional evening and weekend availability.
Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
Three or more years of relevant professional experience.
Experience conducting investigations alleging discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence.
Law degree or a graduate degree in higher education administration, student services, counseling, social work, or related field.
Significant experience investigating student complaints of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence.
Knowledge of university disciplinary systems and relevant regulatory/legal issues.
Background in conflict resolution and/or caseload management.
Experience working in a higher education setting and with college students.
Knowledge, experience, and training in addressing issues related to sex discrimination and sexual violence.
Title IX investigation training and/or certification.
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Demonstrated knowledge of Title IX, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Title VII, Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, ADA, and other applicable laws and regulations, and the ability to interpret complex legal guidance; knowledge of best practices as they relate to compliance with Title IX, VAWA, and non-discrimination laws.
Ability to efficiently manage a caseload of multiple complex matters.
Effective project management, organization and analytical skills and ability to meet investigation timelines.
Strong attention to accuracy and detail.
Exceptional written communication skills, including the ability to write concise, logical, and analytical reports.
Ability to act independently, take initiative, and exercise sound judgment.
Strong presentation and facilitation skills with an emphasis on education and training for a variety of constituencies.
Ability to guide, advise and support the training and learning process with respect to Title IX and VAWA compliance.
Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate confidential and difficult/sensitive information and to demonstrate compassion and sensitivity when interacting with parties and witnesses.
Ability to build relationships and establish collaborative partnerships across the university.
Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusivity, as well as the ability to work with a wide range of constituencies (staff, students, faculty, parents, and administrators) with diplomacy and tact.
As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check. Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highl...y collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.