Pamela White, the college’s new associate vice president for Title IX and Clery Act Coordinator, plans to support existing policies, not to make changes to the school’s procedures right away.
“I’d like to be viewed as someone who comes alongside a program already thriving,” White said. “There are no immediate plans to change the policy because consistency is important.”
White said that while changes may occur eventually, her first order of business is changing how the issue of sexual assault is framed at Emerson. As coordinator, she deals with all cases of gender inequity, which is what Title IX was designed to address.
“My primary concern is not only discourse and action for those who violate Title IX but the broader issue of changing the culture,” White said.
She started working at the beginning of the school year, replacing Betsy Facher Rauch, who had filled the position on an interim basis since March.
White started working in higher education at Florida Atlantic University in the 1980s. She worked in the Office of Student Retention, Minority Student Services, and Equal Employment Opportunity Office. She left education to work in private sector insurance for 13 years, then attended law school at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. She’s worked in higher education for the last seven years, returning to Florida Atlantic University for four years and Virginia Tech for three.
White joins Emerson’s administration at a time when two former students have brought lawsuits against the college for Title IX violations.
“As someone who, in the past, has been responsible for civil rights, [the administration’s] sense of integrity is paramount,” White said. “If [students] don’t think you have integrity, they won’t come to you.”
White said her first order of business will be to get to know as many students, faculty, and staff as she can. She said she wants to meet students so that they feel comfortable coming to her, especially after reading over the Emerson360 survey results and seeing students’ concerns.
“I don’t want students to view me as someone they can’t talk to,” White said. “Any missteps, I want to hear about them, and I’ll only hear if I’m out there.”
White said she’s met with the Office of Housing and Residence Life and wants to meet with others who may be first responders, like Emerson College Police officers and resident assistants, in Title IX cases to make sure they’re comfortable with the policies.
“I will not handle information in a haphazard manner,” White said. “I will make sure students and employees know we’re going to follow procedure and handle information with care.”