Anika Kotaru
Mercury Staff

Office plans to improve relationship with community

The UTD Title IX office recently appointed a new senior director of institutional equity and Title IX initiatives. The new appointee, Marco Mendoza, hopes to increase the transparency and efficiency of the reporting process as well as improve the office’s relationship with the campus community.

Mendoza was appointed on April 22, 2019, and has worked with UTD since 2013 as director of institutional equity and equal employment opportunity, Title IX coordinator and other roles. Mendoza received his bachelor’s degree from McMurry University and completed his master’s in public affairs at UTD. Before starting at UTD, he worked in human resources at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Institutional equity is meant to provide students at a university resources for equal opportunity, affirmative action and nondiscrimination responsibilities. This relates to Title IX by providing the resources for stopping discrimination and sexual harassment.

“A lot of what we are focusing on for the Title IX side is outreach to the community and the entire campus, and making sure people understand that we are here and there’s a process for reporting allegations,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the department is trying to make it easier for people to go to the website and determine what the process to file a complaint looks like, walking people through the investigation process from start to finish.

“Part of what I wanted to do when I came here was (to) make sure that we had the staff to be able to deal with the amount of investigation that comes into the office, and to respond to them more promptly,” Mendoza said. “I want to make the process more transparent by putting information on our website that explains the process not in a policy format, but in a more visual format. I think that is something that could be very helpful, so that’s something that we are already working on. In August, specifically, the month is full of outreach efforts.”

Mendoza plans to speak with student groups around UTD, such as meeting with sorority and fraternity life and all the chapter presidents. Additionally, he will meet with student government representatives, who attend Title IX group meetings and give their input to the Title IX office. The office will also be present at the block party that kicks off Weeks of Welcome. The goal is to have people around UTD not just view them as Title IX, but to have more of a relationship in the campus community.

“I think that it’s a responsibility of making sure that we have a campus that is proactive in addressing matters of sexual harassment and discrimination. I want it to be something that people are not afraid to talk about. When I think of the role, I don’t think of it as something that I am solely responsible for. It’s an institutional responsibility. We’re a department that helps people understand what Title IX is and what institutional equity means.” Mendoza said. “We’re responsible for the process, but the culture that we’re trying to create would be the responsibility of all of our campus community.”