President Smith Discusses Title IX Initiatives at the Board of Governors Meeting

Victoria Ware, Features Editor

In light of ongoing concerns over Marshall’s Title IX practices, President Brad D. Smith detailed how the university will tackle structural issues during the board of governors meeting on Wednesday.

“During my listening tour last spring, the subsequent USA Today article [and] the on-campus demonstration, it is clear that our historical approaches to Title IX do need improvement,” Smith said. “I’m sorry to say that some of our students have not felt safe on our campus. And after meeting dozens of students, they also share that at times they felt their voices have not been heard.”

A task force to deal with immediate and long-term Title IX matters has been formed. Improving Marshall’s Title IX website is one of the initiatives that the task force will work on. Smith said they would immediately begin this project and work to implement better practices. The university’s goal is for the actions being taken to be in place by March 1 and for Marshall to be the standard for Title IX. 

Along with Title IX, Smith discussed his plan for shared governance. Marshall’s Ad Hoc Shared Governance Committee—chaired by Dr. Robin Conley Riner—has been examining the practices of other universities as well as evaluating Marshall’s internal capabilities. 

“Title IX is an example; I think it’s living proof of my and our collective commitment to shared governance because together, we can solve problems and move faster if we bring the best minds from all the constituents together on campus and work towards a common goal,” Smith said. 

Aside from the president’s remarks, a motion was presented to acquire the building that houses PROACT. PROACT (Provider Response Organization for Addiction Care and Treatment) is an addiction treatment center that was founded in 2018 and led by Marshall’s School of Medicine. It is also in connection with CORE (Creating Opportunities for Recovery Employment)—a program that helps those in recovery re-enter the workforce. 

The building is owned by a New York group and Marshall has been leasing it. The group gave Marshall an ultimatum to purchase the facility or vacate, and a motion to purchase the property was approved by the board of governors.

Other actions included an update to a policy involving alcoholic beverages on campus. There was an exception provided for areas where the sale of alcohol is permitted. Another approved item was a motion that allowed for the movement of a bulletin board where administrative procedures and policies that are under review are posted. The purchase and installation of a video board for the football stadium—which is being privately funded—along with the installation of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) at the Henderson Center was also approved.