Patty Crawford never expected to reside in Central Texas. But according to Baylor University’s newly appointed Title IX Coordinator, it was out of her hands.
“I can’t explain how much this was God’s will and how much this has been a beautiful experience for me, knowing the gravity of the job,” Crawford said.
Crawford and her family joined the Baylor community in November. She spent the previous six years at Indiana University East in Richmond, Ind.
Federal law requires that institutions such as Baylor that receive Title IX funding, develop a coordinated plan for compliance. The newly created position reports to Baylor’s Vice President of Governance and Risk and Chief Compliance Officer Juan Alejandro, EdD. The position works closely with Student Life, Human Resources and campus public safety entities.
Six months ago, a move to Texas was the furthest thing from Crawford’s mind.
“I wasn’t really looking to leave Indiana,” Crawford said. “But I was open to a challenge.”
Baylor offered Crawford the position, and while her husband, Ben, took a little convincing to leave his native Indiana, the Crawfords felt it was God’s design for them to head south.
“It felt like God just kept showing me that it was His will to be open to this opportunity,” Crawford said. “People were very intentional about their care for the position, about what they expect for the position. People talked about how prayerful they were when creating the position.”
Crawford brings a wealth of relevant experience to the position. While at Indiana University East, she served as chief adviser to the chancellor. Her duties included Title IX deputy coordinator, chief diversity officer, affirmative action officer, and manager of special projects. Crawford holds a Master of Business Administration from Anderson University in Indiana.
“We saw in her an extremely confident individual who is very knowledgeable about Title IX,” Alejandro said. “She also has the type of personality that makes it very easy for her to relate to a student facing a crisis situation.”
Signed into law by U.S. President Richard Nixon as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX perhaps has been most notable in the realm of college athletics. However, it reaches much further than just the field or the court.
“At many universities, including here at Baylor until last year, Title IX compliance was just part of someone’s other responsibilities,” Alejandro said. “This is a critical position at the University, making it a stand-alone position so that person can focus day-in and day-out on the safety of our students and the care for them should they encounter sexual assault.”
Alejandro said while the position is federally mandated, Baylor’s mission supersedes the government’s requirement and such should be reflected from the position.
“We need to be doing what we’re doing because we’re Baylor University, a caring, Christian institution,” he said. “Compliance is important, but that should not be our driving force.”