A Preview of The Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity’s Virtual Meet-and-Greet

Hui Li ’21

Co-Chief Graphic Designer

On Tuesday, November 9, Derek DeBobes, Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity at the College of the Holy Cross, sent an email to the student body regarding an upcoming event that his office is hosting. He, alongside Kara Hughes, Senior Investigator with the Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity, will be holding an online meet-and-greet with students next Tuesday, November 17 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST.

The Spire reached out to DeBobes and Hughes in advance of the event. Here is what they shared about their backgrounds and what they are looking forward to at the upcoming Zoom meet-and-greet. 

Graphic design by Hui Li ’21.

The Spire: Hello! Can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit in the Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity? What are some of your responsibilities in these roles?

DD: My name is Derek DeBobes and I serve as the Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity at Holy Cross. I am responsible for the oversight and management of the College’s Title IX and Equal Opportunity efforts including policy development, training/education, and the complaint adjudication process. Part of this role includes educating community members on the resources available through our office and ensuring that our services reflect the needs of the community.

KH: I’m Kara Hughes, the Senior Investigator with the Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity. In this role, I am responsible for investigating active complaints, which involves interviewing parties, gathering evidence, and writing reports. Additionally, because we are a small office, I’ve also had the opportunity to help contribute to some administrative tasks, such as getting us up and running in a new case management platform and helping to redesign our website (which is a work still in progress!).

The Spire: Have you worked at other colleges and universities before joining our community? What was your first impression of Holy Cross on your first days here?

DD: This is my fourth institution of higher education, with each role focusing on oversight of equal opportunity and Title IX issues. My initial impression of Holy Cross was that the College was eager to have a consistent and comprehensive presence with respect to Title IX and was dedicated to providing support and resources to ensure the office was successful.

KH: I came to Holy Cross from Boston College, where I was a Senior Writer with the BC Center for Corporate Citizenship. A bulk of my experience working on campus comes from the years I’ve spent teaching—mostly first year composition. I’ve taught at Suffolk University, the City University of New York, and the University of Pittsburgh. My first impression of Holy Cross is that it is a very supportive environment, where people are really willing to listen to and help one another.

The Spire: What is one of the most important things you learned about the Holy Cross community in the past few months? What are you looking forward to learning more about at the college?

DD: I am continuing to learn about the Holy Cross community as I have been working remotely since I began in March. One of the things that faculty, staff and students emphasized during my interview process was how small and tight knit the community was. While I understood that intellectually, I have been able to experience it firsthand, which has provided a deeper appreciation for this. A small community can provide a sense of belonging, support and a shared set of values. However, when instances of discrimination, harassment or sexual violence occur, people who are impacted may feel betrayed, isolated and deeply harmed by that same community that has become an integral part of their life.

KH: I just joined the Holy Cross community in September 2020, so I’m still in the process of learning! One thing that made a great impression on me is that students were part of my hiring process, which I think is a testament to not only how much the College values student voices, but also how involved students are in what is going on across campus. In fact, the meet and greet was born out of a suggestion from one of the students I interviewed with, whom I’ve since worked with as she is a Relationship Peer Educator (RPE).

The Spire: What are you most excited about for the meet-and-greet on Tuesday?

DD: I am looking forward to connecting with students in an informal setting where we have the opportunity to engage in dialogue around what is important to them. It is critical that our work reflects the needs of our students which can only be known through discussion and soliciting feedback.

KH: My hope is that Tuesday serves as an informal way to open up lines of communication between students and our office. We are genuinely interested in hearing from folks, whether with questions or thoughts or concerns, and know that in our (current) virtual world, a Zoom session is the closest thing we can offer to having an open-door policy.

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