Sara Childress named Title IX Coordinator

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On March 28, Interim Chancellor Sam Gingerich announced that Sara Childress has accepted the position of Title IX Coordinator after a search process that included two other candidates. Childress has been in the UAA Office of Equity and Compliance since 2017 as a civil rights investigator, Gingerich’s memo said.

“Sara’s experience includes work as the Anchorage regional manager in Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services where she was responsible for child protection outcomes for the state’s largest region and oversaw a team of more than 175,” Gingerich’s memo stated. “While there, she constructed child welfare performance improvement plans that required strict adherence to federal guidelines and laws, as well as state statutes.”

At Childress’ open forum for the UAA community on Feb. 19 she said she had experienced several issues in the current office that she would fix.

“When I came to the office, it was really clear that all these things were missing. So I really [would] like to see a structure to that office, written expectations, protocols,” Childress said. “We have a huge retention issue in that office, as I am the only one in the office at this point.”

The position of Interim Title IX Coordinator was formerly held by current Director of Human Resource Services Ron Kamahele since the beginning of the academic year. Gingerich’s memo said that Childress would start immediately on March 28.

In her presentation, Childress focused on ways she would improve the office. She said lack of awareness on how to report complaints was one key issue she wanted to tackle.

“Clearly the reporting process is unknown across the board; faculty, staff, students, nobody really knows what happens when you make a report,” Childress said.

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Childress said she also wanted to tweak some of the job duties of the coordinator and the investigators so that there was more objectivity in the complaint process. Childress also stated that she wanted to see more supervision on investigator’s reports.

“What do you think about me reviewing all of my own cases? Not a lot of fidelity to that,” Childress said. “That was one of the shocking things to me is that I review all of my own cases every month and turn it in.”

Gingerich said Childress had experience in leadership through her role as co-chair of the Anchorage Tribal-State Collaboration Group in the past.