After a search that began in mid-September, Macalester has hired its next Title IX Coordinator & Non-Discrimination Officer. Laura Creech will start the position on April 25.
Creech is coming to Macalester from Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State), where she worked as the Title IX coordinator. Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alina Wong said Creech’s experience working with Title IX made her a strong candidate.
“[Creech is] somebody who has experience with guiding both complainants and respondents through the process, and understanding the importance and responsibility of having a fair process,” Wong said.
A search committee — composed of students, staff and faculty and chaired by American studies professor Duchess Harris — spent several months identifying and interviewing candidates. The search committee recommended several finalists, who then met with Wong.
As the Title IX coordinator reports directly to Wong’s position, Wong will be working closely with Creech, providing support for her work and ensuring that the office is working in line with college policies. As part of the hiring process, Wong coordinated meetings between the finalists and senior administrators before making her decision to hire Creech.
Wong announced the new hire to students in an email to the student body on April 12. In the email, Wong emphasized Creech’s experience working in Title IX and with restorative practices — processes that aim to address harm without focusing exclusively on punishment. She noted that Creech helped design an informal resolution process at M State rooted in restorative practices.
“Laura brings a commitment to equity and inclusion in her work, and I’m particularly excited for her to share her experience with restorative practices as she begins her work at Macalester,” Wong wrote.
Wong believes that this commitment to restorative practices, and to building relationships with the broader campus, could be useful at Macalester.
“Macalester’s very community centered, and I think, then, our Title IX policies, our processes for addressing sexual misconduct and discrimination complaints, should also align with those values,” Wong said.
Since former Title IX Coordinator Regina Curran left Macalester last October, Caitlin Gehlen has served as the interim Title IX coordinator. Gehlen will see open cases to completion while Creech begins her work at Macalester.
Gehlen did not respond to a request for comment.
Creech’s arrival at Macalester comes after several years of turnover and turbulence in Macalester’s Title IX office. The federal Title IX guidelines changed in 2020, causing changes to Macalester’s policies; Creech will be the sixth person to head the office in less than four years.
Title IX’s reporting line is new, too — the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion position that Wong currently holds was created this year. Creech will be the first full-time Title IX coordinator to report to Wong, so the relationship between the two offices is still under construction.
Since Creech is coming to Macalester at the end of the semester and won’t be working fully in-person until May 31, she won’t meet most of the campus community until the fall. At that point, the college will coordinate ways for people to meet her.
“One of the things that I want to help facilitate at Macalester is that students don’t meet the Title IX coordinator and nondiscrimination officer only when something has happened, that this is a resource, somebody to talk to on campus,” Wong said. “I think that will also help do some of that community centered work … and also help earn that trust.”