Northwestern hires first full-time Title IX investigator

Olivia Exstrum, Managing Editor

Northwestern’s first employee devoted to investigating Title IX complaints full time started Wednesday.

Colleen Johnston will investigate complaints against the University related to sexual assault, NU’s Title IX coordinator Joan Slavin said in a statement. Johnston will work with the Sexual Harassment Prevention Office and Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Slavin said.

“This will take a huge load off the shoulders of Joan’s office … so they can spend more time working with issues instead of just cases,” ASG President Julia Watson said.

The new position was implemented as part of a complete overhaul of the University’s hearing and appeals system for sexual misconduct cases. In September, NU put into place a new University Hearing and Appeals System to adjudicate all instances of alleged student misconduct and eradicated the separate Sexual Assault Hearing and Appeals System.

Johnston and a panel will speak with both the reporting and responding students in sexual misconduct hearings.

The opening for the Title IX investigator position was posted in December.

Prior to joining NU, Johnston investigated discrimination complaints for Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations and was executive director of the Human Rights Commission in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There will be a reception later this month for NU community members to meet Johnston.

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