PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Rene Davis, an experienced leader in higher education who currently serves as Title IX and Section 504 coordinator at Mount Holyoke College, has been appointed Brown University’s next Title IX program officer.
Davis has spent more than 20 years in higher education administration at Mount Holyoke and the University of North Carolina School for the Arts, working with students, faculty and staff in roles that have included residence hall director, director of residential life, dean of students and associate dean of the college.
At Brown, she will serve as the University’s lead Title IX coordinator with primary responsibility for managing compliance with the federal anti-discrimination law, which establishes guidelines for college campuses regarding sexual and gender-based violence.
Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy and chair of the Title IX program officer search committee, announced Davis’s appointment in a May 18 email to the Brown community. Carey said Davis impressed the search committee and the more than 60 students, faculty and staff she met with over a two-day visit to Brown in April.
“Her colleagues speak enthusiastically of her knowledge, expertise and commitment to equity and fairness,” Carey wrote. “Many of them emphasized the confidence and trust Rene has instilled among students, faculty and staff in the processes and policy at Mount Holyoke.”
At Mount Holyoke, Davis has senior responsibility for all matters relating to Title IX. Among other responsibilities, she chairs a Title IX planning team that includes representatives from Campus Police, Counseling Services, the Dean of Students Office, Health Education, Residential Life and Student Programs. She also leads a student group that assists the college in assessing student climate, interpreting trends and refining outreach efforts.
Davis said the conversations she engaged in on the Brown campus during the search process “shined a bright light on the momentum and current efforts” to prevent and address issues of sexual and gender-based violence and harassment.
“I chose Brown for its approach to Title IX,” Davis said. “This work moves far beyond procedural compliance. It is about embracing gender in all its forms and eradicating the barriers and cultures that foster inequity and gender-based violence. I am prepared and enthusiastic about engaging in this hard work.”
She called her departure from Mount Holyoke, her professional home for nearly two decades, a bittersweet moment but expressed her excitement about joining Brown “not only as a place to work, but as a community of people, ideas and purpose.”
Davis will start her role at Brown effective July 17, 2017, reporting directly to the executive vice president for planning and policy. She will work closely with the deputy Title IX coordinators and investigators, the vice president for campus life, the vice president and general counsel, the dean of the College and others on campus to ensure effective University-wide efforts in regard to Title IX compliance.
Rene Davis has spent more than 20 years in higher education administration at Mount Holyoke and the University of North Carolina School for the Arts, working with students, faculty and staff in roles that have included residence hall director, director of residential life, dean of students and associate dean of the college. Currently, she serves as the Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator at Mount Holyoke with responsibilities as special projects for the president and associate director to the office of student success and advising.
Davis has played a leadership role in strategic initiatives at Mount Holyoke including residence hall renovations, design and build of a new residence hall, the exploration and design of a new community center with dining, and a student persistence and retention initiative. Recently, she co-chaired a campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and Mount Holyoke’s community diversity learning conference, Building On Our Momentum. She also served as the primary point of contact for the Office of Civil Rights and the resolution process of complaints filed against the College.
In addition to those formal roles, Davis is active within the life of the college. She has served as an advisor and liaison and support to various cultural organizations and groups, most recently advising Mount Holyoke’s Undocumented Immigrant Alliance and programming for first-generation college students. She has also served as a member on the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Committee, Multicultural Community and College Life committee, Take the Lead initiative (a program for high school sophomores who are change agents within their home communities), and the President’s Diverse Community task force.
Before becoming Mount Holyoke’s associate director of residential life in 2002, she held the role of area coordinator at the University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts, supporting the operation of the school’s residential life program and advising approximately 400 campus residents.
Prior to her tenure in higher education, Davis worked for nonprofits including Girls Inc. of Holyoke (Mass.) and Womanshelter/Companeras, a women’s shelter. She also served as a teen mentor with Girls Inc. and the YWCA of Springfield, Mass. In 1999, Davis was named as one of 10 women of achievement in Western Massachusetts; in 2013, she was a “Common Ground” recipient through Unity First for leadership, excellence and status as role model within the community. She has also volunteered with the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts and is a founding executive board member of African American Women in Higher Education.
She holds a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is currently a candidate for master’s degree in higher education from Bay Path University.