Office of the President
January 31, 2024

Discrimination and harassment compliance reorganization

From the President

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I am writing to share important information about enhancements to the ways our administrative units work together to address reports of bias, discrimination and harassment and support the members of our community who report these incidents. In this letter, I will outline the details of these changes, including the reorganization of administrative units and efforts to streamline reporting mechanisms and procedures that will strengthen the University’s ability to address such incidents.

It has become clear since both the June 2023 U.S. Supreme Court decision on race-conscious admissions and the sharp rise in concerns over campus climate effected by the violence in the Middle East that there are opportunities to build upon Brown’s strengths for cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus. It is critical that members of our community are educated about these issues and understand how to report incidents.

To meet this goal, effective February 1, 2024, the federal compliance, reporting and investigatory functions involving discrimination and harassment (Title VI and VII), gender discrimination and sexual misconduct (Title IX) and disability discrimination and accessibility accommodations (ADA/504), along with the staff supporting these operations, that previously resided in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) will now be managed by the newly-created Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting in the Division of Campus Life. Both offices have been working collaboratively to ensure a seamless transition for individuals with pending cases. 

As an academic community committed to diversity and inclusion, Brown stands firmly against any harassment, discrimination, and hate. These enhancements will help to further our goal of ensuring that Brown remains a caring and supportive community where all members can be safe and thrive.


This restructuring more closely connects the offices that manage incident reports with those that investigate those incidents and provide support to students. Under the leadership of Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Eric Estes, the new Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting will bring reporting, investigations, services and support into one division. We understand that those who report incidents may need a wide range of supports. The transition will provide new opportunities for coordinated responses from staff in Health and Wellness, Residential Life, Student Support Services, and other partners.

The Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting will also support faculty and staff who file reports, in close partnership with the Office of the Provost and University Human Resources. In addition, working with the Office of General Counsel, all of these offices have collaborated to provide greater clarity in the reporting and complaint resolution process.


We recognize the importance of making the reporting process as easy to navigate as possible. Incidents involving bias, discrimination, harassment, disability discrimination, gender discrimination and sexual violence will now be reported through one of two streamlined intake forms – one to report incidents of bias, discrimination or harassment, and a second to report gender discrimination or sexual violence.

This enhancement means that Brown community members will not need to determine how to categorize an incident prior to reporting. Rather, staff will review reports, and the appropriate unit will follow up with the reporting individual. To achieve this, faculty, students, staff and University visitors should use the following link, effective February 1, 2024, to submit reports:

OIED continues to oversee affirmative action in employment and bias incident reporting, with a referral to Campus Life for any reports that may require further investigation. The Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting receives all other reports, conducts investigations (which will continue to remain confidential), offers formal and informal processes for resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment, and provides services and care for students.


Under the leadership of Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Sylvia Carey-Butler, OIED will continue to enhance its mission to help Brown build a community that is truly diverse and inclusive across many measures. This reorganization will move OIED closer to a model shared by many of our peers, focusing resources on the core charge to advance concrete actions in academic and administrative departments and offices to strengthen inclusion and diversity. This includes stewarding the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), staffing the Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Board (DIOB), and driving efforts to support a vibrant academic community that enables all members to thrive as leaders, thinkers and problem-solvers.

The office will continue to be a key strategist and advisor to offices across campus for those working to both recruit and retain diverse talent — students, faculty and staff — following the summer’s SCOTUS decision banning the consideration of race in admissions and ongoing enforcement of federal laws limiting consideration of race in programs and activities. OIED will create additional opportunities for assessment, education and training; including actions to address bias and to assess and strengthen campus climate. Responsibilities for documenting bias reports, providing resources to members of the community who experience bias, and regularly surveying the community regarding the campus climate will remain in OIED. 

OIED will also continue to manage Brown’s Affirmative Action Plan, which requires both ongoing assessment of the University’s workforce and also managing compliance monitoring and reports to the government in alignment with federal nondiscrimination regulations. In addition, the office will continue to be the home for the Leadership Alliance, Brown-Tougaloo Partnership and other programming and initiatives to build strong pipelines of talent in the academy.


Recent global events have demonstrated the critical need for Brown and so many campuses around the country to rededicate ourselves to maintaining a diverse and inclusive community and strengthening our responses to incidents of bias, harassment and discrimination. I want to thank Sylvia Carey-Butler and Eric Estes for their leadership and partnership in managing a reorganization that will create new opportunities for the way we serve and support the Brown community. 

Christina H. Paxson