A new semester always brings new faces to campus and the AUC community. One newcomer who is ready to make her grand entrance is Morehouse’s new Title IX and Compliance Specialist, Beverly Gooden. The Maroon Tiger sat down with Ms. Gooden to learn more about her and her choice to come to the House.
Why did you decide to come to Morehouse?
“I think that there was a definite immediate HBCU connection. When I came here to interview for the role, I hadn’t worked in higher education before and I felt that, it would be a happier more pleasant adjustment into the Higher Ed world to go to an HBCU. But even deeper, I wanted to come to Morehouse because of the demographic. In my past, I worked mainly in victims’ rights in regards to women, so I thought it would be a unique opportunity to do Title IX on a black male campus and try my best to reform that program that we already have here and do it where they are black men who are learning a growing and going out into the world. I thought it was a unique opportunity.
“What do you bring to the table?”
“I think the reason they chose me over the other candidates is because my work experience is in human resources. So I’ve been in human resources for about seven years and with human resources comes a lot of federal regulations and compliance and a lot of judgement when it comes to the human’s behavior. Some people don’t even have a passion for things like sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, gender violence. So I think that’s why they chose me for the role because of the interest and seriousness I have regarding Title IX and not only Title IX, gender violence, and then also the seven years of compliance work because that’s a huge part of Title ix that I’m learning myself
How are you different?
“I think before there were several interim Title IX coordinators and I’m the first time they have actually hired a permanent Title IX coordinator. So when you have a lot of interim roles that turn over, things fall through the cracks and I think that happens in any position. Just thinking with my HR brain, when there is a lot of turnover that happens. But I think two things we had interim Title IX coordinators and a campus, and I’m talking about the administrators, that weren’t really making Title IX issues an important part of what we are doing. I think a lot of times administrations can get caught up on endowments and money and bringing things, which is important too. But it’s also important to be very careful about how we process cases involving sexual assault. So I think, one way I’m different is I’m not temporary and I think that’s a very important part of it.
What can students expect to see change?
What I want students to see change most immediately is the time frame. I think we’ve had in the past, a lot of cases that have been delayed for various reasons. Maybe there weren’t enough people to hear the case, or maybe people weren’t responding, just things of that nature. Federal guidelines suggest a 60-day [response] from report to panel hearing. That’s my goal. That’s what I want to do. That’s the most immediate thing, first of all. Second of all, anybody that’s waiting for a hearing is gonna get a hearing as soon as possible and that means for me by the end of March. That’s what you can expect. You can expect me to make sure the process if running smoothly and I think with the addition of myself, and then also Joy White, who is the new associate general counsel, we’re both here to do that. So it won’t just be falling through the cracks.
What do you want students to know as you start your position?
“I want students to know that things are going to be done differently now and that’s not a slight on anyone that came before me. I think they were all overwhelmed, overworked, not really knowledgeable, and not really capable, not really having the authority to do the things they needed to do with Title IX. I’m not really here to continue that. I want students to know that I want to work alongside them and with them. I want to hear their hearts and their thoughts on gender violence and healthy masculinity and anything we need to know, so that we can work to change things. I want them to know that they can talk to me anytime. I want them to know that they don’t have to be afraid, even if you don’t have case, even if you don’t have a report. You can come talk about your ideas regarding Title IX or your concerns. I want this to be a Title IX office where its collaborative, not just with each other or administration. But also with the students because I think that’s what will force the change.”
One thing that was consistent through our interview with Ms. Gooden was her passion for Title IX and her openness to criticism. To voice your concerns or suggestions to Ms. Gooden, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.