Darci Heroy to step down from civil rights, Title IX post

Darci Heroy

Darci Heroy, who has led the UO’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault since 2016, is stepping down from her position as associate vice president, chief civil rights officer and Title IX coordinator.

The university is launching a national search for her replacement. Heroy will help provide continuity while the search for a new head of the Office of Investigation and Civil Rights Compliance is conducted.

“Darci has been instrumental in leading significant improvements in the way our campus addresses sexual violence and harassment,” said President Michael H. Schill. “She worked brilliantly to bring constituents across campus together around the shared goal of improving our prevention and response programs and policies.”

During her tenure, Heroy helped the UO significantly expand and solidify the campuswide Title IX structure, including increasing the number of trained Title IX deputies and appeals officers, initiating respondent support services, facilitating and implementing survivor-centered changes to employee responsible reporting policies, creating partnerships with Oregon State University and others for successful Title IX conferences, and overseeing the UO’s continuing participation in regular assessment efforts such as the AAU Campus Climate Survey.

Title IX is the federal law that requires equal access to educational opportunities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Heroy, who has been working with labor, employment and civil rights issues at the UO and elsewhere for nearly a decade, said she’s seen immense progress over the last several years.

“Our response to disclosures, investigations and adjudication of these types of cases has become more coordinated, consistent and transparent,” she said. “We’re typically able to respond to students that disclose incidents to us within 24 to 48 hours and provide them with many options for support, both confidential and not.”

Heroy emphasized that she has been part of an amazing team, saying, “I’ve been incredibly proud to work with and lead the amazing individuals that do this critical work across campus. I have not done any of this alone.”

Her office has also overseen improvements in how the UO responds to students’ complaints, incorporating a deeply integrated approach that coordinates the the investigations office with the Office of the Dean of Students, Counseling Center, UO Police Department, Office of Housing and other critical partners across campus. She also helped improve critical partnerships related to Title IX off campus with the district attorneys’ office, Eugene police, Student Survivor Legal Services and community nonprofits.

The Title IX office and affirmative action office were also combined into one unit under Heroy’s leadership. That facilitated improvements in making Title IX processes more transparent and consistent, and aided other crucial areas such as record retention, case management, pattern identification and coordination with other key offices on campus to support students and employees.

Heroy said she’s not sure what her exact next steps are at this moment, except that it will be something that allows her to be more present with her young children, ages 6 and almost 2.

“My goal is to spend more focused time with my kids while they’re still little,” she said.

Heroy is a labor and employment attorney with a degree from the UO School of Law and a master’s degree in international policy analysis from the Monterey Institute. Before coming to the UO, she worked as a civil rights investigator for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, an executive coach and consultant, and a labor law contract attorney.

Starting in 2013, she served as an equal opportunity specialist in the UO’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, where she conducted investigations of sexual misconduct cases. She started consulting with the UO on Title IX issues in April 2015, providing project coordination for the Title IX management team, helping track the university’s Title IX initiatives and creating a framework for a comprehensive strategic plan on sexual assault prevention and response.

She was named associate vice president and Title IX coordinator on an interim basis in February 2016, and she shed the interim label in August 2016.