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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

WSU Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance focuses on protecting students from discrimination

Kristy Mace
The Office of Civil Rights, Title IX and ADA Compliance (CTAC) office is located in Lindquist Hall, room 208.

The department that handles Title IX and equality services at Wichita State got a new name last April: the Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance (CTAC).

The department, which used to be called the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, received the label change to make its mission more clear: ensuring regulations that protect students and staff are enforced.

Courtney McHenry, the CTAC associate vice president and university Title IX coordinator, said he wants to “help everybody get to where they need to be.”

“I want to make sure that our faculty, students and staff have rights, and they’re not forced to do anything that they don’t want to do,” McHenry said. “But I think that it’s also very important to make sure that both sides are heard, and they can go through a fair and neutral process.”

The office handles Title IX investigations, sexual misconduct, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaints, among other issues of discrimination. CTAC’s compliance mission says the office is “committed to preventing and eliminating discrimination or harassment based on race color, national origin, pregnancy, sex age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy.”

McHenry was hired to the director position in January. He recounted that after talking to students and staff, he learned that many on campus didn’t know what his office did.

“I said maybe we should change the name so people know where to go if they have problems as it pertains to Title IX, their civil rights, disability claims and all of that,” McHenry said. “So I got with several campus partners … And that’s how we came up with CTAC.”

According to McHenry, the name change has led to more fraternities and student organizations asking him to conduct trainings on misconduct.

“We want to make sure that we have the right conversations in the right spaces in the right ways,” McHenry said.

McHenry described CTAC as “customer service based.” He said he has focused on hiring staff that can “work with a smile” to make investigations less threatening to students.

“I think there’s a negative connotation when it comes to the term ‘investigations,’” McHenry said. “People think that is going to be loud and harsh, interrogative. That’s not how we do things here … At its core, it’s about making sure we have a place where students, faculty and staff can thrive.”

McHenry pointed out that because CTAC has built partnerships with numerous other organizations around Wichita, they can advise students on where to go for support even if CTAC isn’t the right place.

“It’s kind of like a one-stop (shop),” McHenry said. “We may not have everything for you here, but we know how to get you to where you need to be.”

CTAC usually has to adjust its policies to interpret regulations released by the current national presidential administration. The Biden Department of Education has yet to release official updated rules, which McHenry expects to happen in the spring. Once those rules are released, McHenry said he’ll put together a team to update their Title IX policy.

“We need to make sure that we are doing right by our faculty, students and staff,” McHenry said. “So it definitely takes time, but I’m fine with that because I want it to be thorough.”For more information on CTAC, visit wichita.edu/administration/oiec/.

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

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