Memorandum September 11, 2020
- AU Community
- Seth Grossman, Vice President of People and External Affairs, Chief of Staff and Counselor to the President
- Welcoming AU’s New Assistant Vice President for Equity and Title IX, Leslie Annexstein
I am pleased to announce that Leslie Annexstein will be joining American University as our inaugural Assistant Vice President for Equity and Title IX. The new Office of Equity and Title IX launched in August, and Leslie’s appointment is the culmination of months of work across our community that produced a new, coordinated approach to addressing structural racism, gender-based violence, and barriers that prevent members of our community from full participation and access. Leslie’s first day at American will be September 30.
The Office of Equity and Title IX will oversee all of our efforts to prevent and respond to discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy or parenting, age, religion, disability, or other bases under local and federal laws and regulations. It will also enhance education and training in these areas, serve as a dedicated resource and point of accountability for our community, and respond to all claims in these areas from students, faculty, and staff. Having a centralized function with a dedicated leader will provide a direct avenue for individual concerns to be promptly and meaningfully addressed; enhance our approach to preventing and responding to discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault complaints; and provide everyone in our community with a space to be heard.
Leslie’s career has been focused on civil rights enforcement. She has a passion for creating values-based communities and working across institutions to build strong bonds that yield exceptional results. Leslie comes to AU from Howard University, where she served as the Title IX Director. In this position, she managed the complaint process, supervised investigations, developed and implemented comprehensive education and training programs, and promoted effective cross-departmental coordination and collaborations. She previously served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct at the University of Maryland and as a Senior Attorney Advisor to the General Counsel at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Leslie has also held positions at the Urban Justice Center, the American Association of University Women, the National Women’s Law Center, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Leslie received her JD from the UC Berkeley School of Law and her BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College. We’re very excited Leslie is bringing this deep experience to AU and to lead our new office.
I want to thank Stephen Vaughn, who served as our acting Title IX coordinator and played a key role in the transition to the new office, and the members of the search committee for this important position. I also want to thank the Title IX Working Group, with representatives from the Offices of Academic Affairs, Campus Life, Human Resources, General Counsel, and University Communications and Marketing, that played a critical role in the implementation of the new U.S. Department of Education regulations and the transition to the new office. I particularly want to acknowledge Jennifer Scott, Justin Perillo, and Geralynn Franceschini for their efforts working with the community to develop the new Office of Equity and Title IX and Fanta Aw, Traevena Byrd, and Beth Muha and their teams for their leadership in developing and launching the new office, which will enhance safety and equity across the AU community.
Please join me in welcoming Leslie to American University. If you have any questions about the Office of Equity and Title IX, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.