Photo courtesy of: Institutional Equity
Jan 19, 2012
In October, Inya Baiye joined the Office of Institutional Equity as assistant director for civil rights compliance, bringing with her a desire to open doors to current and future Ohio University faculty, staff and students.
Baiye has worked with in higher education in some form for 10 years and during that time, she obtained her law degree.
Laura Myers, executive director of Institutional Equity and ADA/504 coordinator, said that Baiye'sill set and commitment to diversity and education will benefit the entire University.
"Inya, as the assistant director for civil rights compliance, is primarily responsible for intake of new concerns or complaints of discrimination or harassment that we receive from individuals or as referrals from other offices. She will also assist with creation of our annual Affirmative Action Plan and with training about discrimination law and procedure across all of our campuses."
Institutional Equity is Ohio University’s civil rights compliance office. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Executive Order 11246among other laws, requires institutions such as OHIO to prevent discrimination in our educational and employment opportunities.
As part of an ongoing series that highlights the Office for Institutional Equity's commitment to transparency, Compass sat down with Baiye to learn more about her position, her passions and her goals.
What interested you in this position with Institutional Equity?
Baiye: While I was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was a graduate assistant in a similar office. Before I got into this type of work, I had always been interested in issues of diversity and civil rights. So, when I saw the post online for this job at Ohio University, it was so similar to what I was already doing that I had to apply.
What excites you about your job?
I'm a lawyer by training, and I have to admit, I find investigation and analysis very fascinating.
Overall, I like that this job is different every day. I interact with a varied cross section of the University community through training and investigating complaints. Civil rights issues are complex and require a lot of passion for the subject matter and creative problem solving skills. I have experience with diversity issues and with public interest work and I think that background is part of the reason why I enjoy my work.
What do you do in your position?
I investigate unresolved complaints of harassment and discrimination for the Ohio University community. I also review and develop policy that determines how various parts of the University community relate to each other.
One of my favorite parts of my job is when offices or departments contact our office to request training on harassment or discrimination issues. Laura [Myers] and the entire office, overall, is committed to training across the entire University because education helps us to prevent civil rights violations, and allows us to think proactively about how to improve the campus environment.
What do you want the campus community to know about your position?
If you feel that you have been treated different because you are a member of a "protected class," please contact my office. A protected status can be one’s ethnicity or national origin, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age or physical disability, and includes protection for active member of the military and veterans.
My position advocates for the University as a whole – for the students, the administration, the faculty and the staff. My office ensures that Ohio University has a fair process and that the avenues by which we distribute resources equitable – from employment opportunities for faculty and staff, to academic and co-curricular activities for students.
What changes are coming on the horizon?
The DOE has clarified their expectations for education and enforcement of Title IX, and my office is responsible for educating and informing the University of these changes. We are planning on more proactive training around this issue this year.
Many people think of Title IX only in the context of women's sports, but that is only one application of the legislation. It is really about creating equal access to academic programs and activities for both women and men.
As a part of that, we will be sharing information about procedures for reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment with students, faculty and staff. I hope that any supervisors or managers that work closely with students will see us as a resource to inform their units about these regulations. I look forward to meeting more members of the campus community and assisting with their concerns.