By Bluma Gross, News Editor
Vice Provost Chaim Nissel announced in an email to the YU community on March 10, 2022 that Ann Todd, Esq. would be added to the University’s Title IX department as the new Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Todd’s commission to the Title IX department is a part of a special effort to improve the Title IX office after student outrage following a rape allegation last year that students claim the department mishandled. The committee, led by Dean Karen Bacon, is following recommendations to restructure the university’s Title IX department. In communication with the YU Observer, Dean Bacon remarked, “As the Chair of the Committee that reviewed our Title IX policies and procedures, I am grateful to the University for adopting our recommendations and grateful, as well, to Dean Nissel for taking the leadership in implementing those recommendations. The expansion of the Title IX Office is the first step, very welcome step. In the coming months I look forward to hearing further updates that will benefit the students in particular and the entire YU community generally.”
As stated by Yeshiva University’s Non Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Conplaint Procedures, which includes allegations of sexual assualt, the Title IX department is composed of Title IX Coordinator Dr. Chaim Nissel, Human Resources Title IX Coordinator Renee Coker, the Athletics Title IX Coordinator Joe Bednarsh, and Cardozo’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator Jenn Kim. It is unclear whether Ms. Todd will be an addition to–or a replacement–of any of the current administration in the Title IX department.
According to Vice Provost Nissel’s email, Todd has extensive experience as a Title IX coordinator. Graduating From Davidson College with a degree in Psychology, she went on to get a Jurice Doctorate from the University of Nebraska, and then returned to work at Davidson College as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for eight years. Todd is also affiliated with a Title IX service firm and has conducted several hundred investigations representing universities into student allegations of sex discrimination, sexual assault, and other civil rights violations.
In response to an Observer staff inquiry about developments in last year’s rape case and other on-campus Title IX developments , Ann Todd told the YU Observer that “I cannot speak directly about any ongoing cases or past cases for which I was not involved. But your timing around the website is excellent. Today is my first day and I already have time set up next week to review the progress on the website. I look forward to helping YU identify the content that is most beneficial to students and others looking for information and support around these issues.”
In response to the rape allegation case, the formation of Students Against Sexual Assault, SASA has educated students on issues like dating violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and hosted events ranging from a Title IX educational event to a relationship advice program. On Ms. Todd’s appointment to Yeshiva’s Title IX department, SASA co-President Cayla Muschel (SCW ‘23) told the Observer, “Having an experienced coordinator whose primary focus is Title IX has been in the works for a while. This is excellent news. Next step is following through on the other parts of the letter. Reformed harassment training and widespread access to resources, information, and SHARE counselors.”
When reached for a comment on her thoughts on Todd’s appointment, the alleged rape victim told the YU Obsever, “I think it’s a step in the right direction…I [want to] see a total change in the way sexual assault is treated, it shouldn’t be taboo and I think if we as a Jewish instituiton handle it in a better way and talk about it maybe as a whole in the Orthodox World it will be treated better, so thats really what I hope comes from their changes, [be]cause they can change people but the people can still be the same if they have the same agenda as before.”