The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Changes to CNU Title IX Office

Katie Wellbrock to be interim Title IX coordinator
CNU Title IX office sign, photo by Evelyn Davidson/The Captain’s Log

On Tuesday, Sep. 12, Christopher Newport University President William Kelly sent an email out to faculty, staff, and students indicating that the university’s Title IX office is under new management. Katie Wellbrock, Assistant VP of Student Affairs, will be the Interim Title IX coordinator, taking over for Michelle Moody. 

This news comes not long after the publication of an article by The Virginian-Pilot last semester, detailing how the CNU Title IX office dismissed sexual assault cases without conducting a proper investigation. The article contained three interviews from CNU alumni who shared their experiences with the Title IX office. Staff members in the Title IX office mishandled sensitive case files and discouraged students from filing official reports, according to The Pilot’s article.

The article led many people within the CNU community to demand for transparency and improvements to the Title IX office – both with its leadership and the case process. The women who spoke out in The Pilot article issued an open letter that detailed the changes they wished to see within the Title IX office and Where Is The Line (WITL), CNU’s sexual assault awareness club, circulated a petition pushing the university to make those changes. The petition garnered more than 2,500 signatures.

In addition, WITL hosted an open forum for students to ask questions, voice their concerns and share their personal experiences with CNU’s Title IX office. Students, faculty and local media outlets attended the forum. Two of the women featured in The Pilot’s article also were in attendance and briefly addressed the attendees.

Story continues below advertisement

Following the release of the article on April 16, 2023, CNU Interim President Adelia Thompson sent an email addressing the situation. 

We pledge to listen and engage with our student leaders to continue these conversations and find our best way forward together,” Thompson said in the email. 

In April, the university assembled a Title IX Review Committee to “conduct a comprehensive review of Title IX.” The committee, which was made up of faculty, administration and students, had a July 31 deadline to “fulfill its charge and deliver a report and recommendations to Kelly at the close of his first month as the new leader of Christopher Newport.”

The first update on the review was emailed to students, faculty and staff on June 1 and the second on June 30. 

“Our next step is to identify strategies to strengthen our approach to the Title IX process,” the committee said in the second update.

The committee spent the summer reviewing other institutions’ Title IX policies and finding ways to strengthen CNU’s. 

The final update was sent on July 31 stating that the committee delivered its final report to Kelly. 

Just over a week before the announcement of Wellbrock as the new Title IX coordinator, Kelly provided an update on the steps being taken by the university since the review was submitted to him.

“The Committee made several recommendations for steps that can be taken so that Christopher Newport can be an even more safe, respectful, and inclusive campus,” he said.

Kelly added that he was “preparing to name a working group made up of students, faculty, and staff to offer guidance on how to implement the Committee’s recommendations.”

The university continues to send updates regarding the Title IX office.

The Title IX Office remains fully committed to serving the Christopher Newport community and working to ensure our campus is safe, respectful, and inclusive,”  said Kelly in his most recent email.

Campus photo taken by Savannah Dunn/The Captain’s Log

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Captain's Log

Your donation will support the student journalists of Christopher Newport University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Savannah Dunn, News Editor
Donate to The Captain's Log

Comments (0)

All The Captain's Log Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *