September 1, 2020
Dear University of Oregon community,
It is my pleasure to announce that we have selected Nicole Commissiong, assistant dean for student affairs at the UO School of Law, as the next associate vice president, chief civil rights officer, and Title IX Coordinator.
Nicole has a long track record of supporting students at the UO. She has served as assistant dean in the law school since 2009 where she helped students in a variety of capacities to support their success in their studies and extracurriculars. Additionally, she has served as a deputy Title IX coordinator and appeals officer, working closely with colleagues in the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance and in Student Conduct in the Office of the Dean of Students to counsel students and lead non-discrimination trainings across campus, among other duties.
I want to also highlight her work as a member of the committee that brought the revised and adopted Conflicts of Interest and Abuse of Power: Sexual, Physically Intimate, or Romantic Relationships with Students policy to the University Senate and her work this summer as a member of the work group that proposed the revisions to the standard operating procedures for prohibited discrimination or harassment.
I am confident that Nicole will continue to build upon the university’s work related to Title IX and support a student-centered approach to allegations of sexual harm as well as other forms of discrimination and harassment that impede the success of our students. Her experience, knowledge, and competence with the topics the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance oversees, both in letter as well as the lived experiences of our students, faculty, and staff, will help the university continue to address issues of discrimination and harassment.
As our communities and nation continue to grapple with structural racism and how to create a more equitable world, educating our university community about, and addressing incidents of, discrimination and harassment in their many forms remain a critical element of our work to provide equal opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to be successful in their endeavors. This work is also critical to our aspirations that the University of Oregon be a more equitable institution. I look forward to having Nicole lead this work and continue supporting our students and university in this new capacity. She will start in the position on October 1.
Finally, I would like to thank the 13-member search committee, chaired by Chief Human Resources Officer Mark Schmelz, for their work. Although the search was interrupted by COVID-19, they were able to quickly return to the search this summer and balanced this responsibility among the many other duties requiring their time.
I would also like to thank Vanessa Crakes, manager of investigations for the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance, who served as the interim Title IX coordinator and lead for the investigations office. Her leadership this summer was especially important as the university worked to revise our standard operating procedures for prohibited discrimination and harassment following the new rules issued by the Department of Education. Thank you, Vanessa, for stepping into this interim role.
Please join me in congratulating Nicole, and I hope you and your families are staying safe and well.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law