Cedarville U. accused of lacking procedures to deal with sex discrimination

Cedarville University is facing a federal inquiry claiming it is violating a law regarding sex discrimination complaints.

The U.S. Department of Education earlier this month notified Cedarville officials about the complaint associated with Title IX — which protects people from discrimination based on sex. The complaint states that the private, Baptist university had not assigned a Title IX coordinator and lacks “prompt and equatable” grievance procedures to resolve complaints of sexual discrimination.

Cedarville announced the complaint Thursday and provided the Department of Education the documents they requested. The university said the federal agency did not release the complaint nor the identity of the person who filed it.

New university President Thomas White vowed that the matter “will be taken seriously.”

“We will review the issues to make sure Cedarville University is in compliance and that our campus is a place where everyone feels they can have related concerns appropriately addressed,” White said in a news release.

The university said White has appointed staff to coordinate complaints and training on Title IX and established a committee to oversee compliance. White said Robert Vaughn, assistant professor of criminal justice and assistant university counsel, will coordinate Title IX training; Lisa Todd, associate vice president of human resources, will be in charge of individual complaints; and Provost John Gredy will serve as liaison to a new oversight committee for compliance that includes members from student life, human resources, public safety and public relations. The committee is chaired by the university’s general counsel, the school said.

Cedarville also retained noted Philadelphia lawyer Gina Maisto Smith, “a national legal expert on Title IX and the institutional response to sexual misconduct, to guide the university team in its continuing assessment and implementation of effective policies and procedures,” the university said.

According to her online biography, Smith “is frequently called upon to advise colleges and universities about sexual misconduct policies, changes in the law, and investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence.”