Mac hires new interim Title IX coordinator, seeking student input


Interim Title IX Coordinator Dion Farganis. Photo by Kori Suzuki ’21.

Estelle Timar-Wilcox, Staff Writer

Last April, after a semester of contention between the Office of Title IX and the student body, Title IX Bias and Harassment Coordinator Timothy Dunn resigned. The position has been filled since then by interim coordinators, while the search for a permanent coordinator continues this fall.

Director of Employment Services Bob Graf is currently leading the search, which remains in its early stages. At the moment, Graf does not have a concrete timeline or expected end date.

“It’s important that the process move along as swiftly as possible and culminate in an appropriate hire,” Graf wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly.

The college has partnered with a search firm to assist in the process. On Sept. 17, the search firm will hold open listening sessions on campus to determine what they will look for in a new coordinator. These sessions, which will be held at 12 p.m. in Olin Rice 250 and 5 p.m. in the Loch, will be open to students, staff and faculty attendees.

“The sessions are intended to be a forum for informative and constructive conversation that can then be utilized in evaluating candidates throughout the interview and selection process,” Graf wrote.

According to Graf, the search firm will then compile a group of candidates for the Macalester search committee to review. This committee — which includes Associate Vice President and Dean of Students DeMethra LaSha Bradley and members of the newly-formed Title IX Student Advisory Committee among others — will then choose several of these candidates to bring to campus for interviews.

There are a number of opportunities for students to get involved in the search. In addition to attending next week’s listening sessions, there are two open seats for students on the Macalester search committee, and student groups will be able to interview finalists.

As the search progresses, interim directors will continue to fill the empty position. Tara Adams, who had previously worked as the interim director during the 2017-2018 academic year, initially filled the position last April when Dunn resigned.

In mid-August, Adams left her law firm for a corporate counsel position at U.S. Bank. She was replaced by  Dion Farganis, an attorney specializing in issues related to higher education and Title IX law.

“Prior to entering legal practice, I was a tenured college professor with experience handling Title IX matters, so the position is one that fits well with my background and experience,” Farganis said in an email to The Mac Weekly.

Despite shifting leadership, Farganis wrote that the Title IX office will remain consistent during the process of searching for and hiring a permanent director.

“I have worked closely with Ms. Adams to get fully up to speed on pending cases, and we remain in close contact so that if any questions arise, she can answer them,” Farganis wrote.

“Any time there is a transition in the Title IX coordinator position, it is absolutely essential that the campus community has complete confidence that there will be no negative impact on how ongoing matters are handled,” Farganis continued. “We made this a top priority.”