Following a four-month search process, President Veitch hired Jennifer Broomfield as Occidental’s new Title IX Coordinator Jan. 22. Broomfield is an attorney and licensed clinical social worker. She moved to Occidental from the University of California San Diego (UCSD), where she worked as the director of Title IX and the Office of Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination from April 2017 to January 2018.
The top three candidates for the Title IX Coordinator position visited campus Nov. 13–15. According to committee co-chair and Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) professor Laura Hebert, after the on-campus interviews concluded, the search committee met with Veitch, the hiring manager, to offer their recommendation. Veitch considered this recommendation along with input from other constituencies on campus, feedback received from students and faculty during open forums and the online feedback form.
Broomfield relocated to California from Florida in 2017 where she worked at Florida State University (FSU) as their first full-time Title IX Coordinator. According to Broomfield, her wife’s job necessitated a transfer to the West Coast. Broomfield was working at UCSD when a friend mentioned the job position at Occidental. She said Occidental’s small community and the opportunity to address issues of sexual violence more holistically and communally attracted her to the college.
After submitting her resume, Broomfield said she took part in two Skype interviews before coming to campus Nov. 13. According to Broomfield, the application process at Occidental was different from other schools she applied to work at because she got to talk to students, faculty, staff and administrators.
“I literally think I met with every person on this campus — at least it felt that way,” Broomfield said. “When I left that night, I had such a good sense of what Oxy was and whether I thought it would be a good fit for me.”
According to Micaela Stevens (senior), a student representative on the search committee and Planned Parenthood Club e-board member, Broomfield was her favorite of the three candidates to visit campus.
“I felt she did the best job in relating to the students, and observing the way she would talk to students, she didn’t come off as lawyerly,” Stevens said.
Stevens also said that she felt Broomfield’s past experience in Title IX work, specifically at FSU, would benefit her work at Occidental. According to Stevens, she trusted Broomfield based on her ability to shift the climate of sexual violence at FSU.
“She was one of the people [FSU] brought in to make the school safer. I’m very confident in her ability to be successful here, and I’m looking forward to it,” Stevens said.
Hebert said she was thrilled Broomfield accepted the offer to join the Occidental community and shared Stevens’ appreciation for Broomfield’s work at FSU.
“Jennifer is warm, engaging, accessible and clearly enthusiastic about taking on this demanding role,” Hebert said. “I expect students, staff and faculty will welcome the opportunity to work with her.”
As Broomfield transitions into her new role, she has been working alongside Interim Title IX Coordinator Danica Myers. According to Broomfield, the two are collaborating on existing and ongoing cases.
According to Broomfield, her first goal at Occidental is to talk to people. In the coming weeks, she plans on reaching out to student groups, faculty and departments to meet the community and ask what the Title IX Office can be doing better.
“I don’t want to come in and presume I know what’s best for Oxy,” Broomfield said. “The Title IX coordinator and the Title IX Office is not in and of itself going to end sexual violence. It’s a community problem, so it needs a community solution. We need all hands on deck — this is everybody’s issue.”
Broomfield said she hopes to meet as many students in person as possible to build trust and to acquaint herself with the student body. She sees both goals as crucial to her role and ensuring students feel comfortable with Title IX reporting.
“This is difficult stuff to talk about, no one wants to talk about stuff like this,” Broomfield said. “They especially don’t want to talk about it to someone they don’t know.”
Broomfield said she recognizes the challenges unique to working at a small school, including more creative problem solving regarding interim remedies to protect parties’ privacy throughout the process before a claim is heard.
“It is like working in a small town, everyone knows everyone else. We need to schedule things so that privacy is preserved and people feel safe coming here,” Broomfield said.
According to Broomfield, she will also be focusing on revising the Title IX website to make it more user-friendly and to ease the Title IX claim reporting process.