Over the past year-and-a-half, The Office for Institutional Equity has undergone numerous positive changes and growth. The pandemic, however, caused the office to pivot from the norms of conducting everyday work and rethink standard business models, including hiring new staff remotely. OIE has overcome the challenge by welcoming five new staff members into the virtual office.
James Mason Joined OIE in May 2020. His work focuses on student sexual misconduct and complaints of discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct filed by students, faculty, and staff. Prior to coming to Duke, he served as a Title IX investigator at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and also at the University of Minnesota. "I have really enjoyed my time as a member of the Duke community. The warmth between team members here at OIE has been a pleasant surprise," mentioned Mason when asked how he has acclimated to working at Duke.
In June 2020, Ashley Edwards-Davis joined OIE as an equal opportunity compliance investigator focusing on student sexual misconduct and complaints of discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct filed by students, faculty, and staff. She also conducts compliance training and provides consultation services to managers and human resources staff. Before Duke, she served as a Staff Attorney for Legal Aid of North Carolina in the Winston-Salem Office and Durham/Henderson Office.
Megan Peterson arrived in November 2020 to support the day-to-day operations of the Office for Institutional Equity, including serving as the office's first point of contact for visitors, calls, inquiries, and requests. She works closely with the Assistant Vice President of Harassment and Discrimination Prevention and Compliance and the Assistant Vice President for Diversity Equity and Inclusion by providing them with administrative support, handling logistics for internal and external meetings, as well as organizing compliance-related materials and documents. Having previously worked in Duke University Stores, she is no stranger to campus, but she "saw this position and wanted the opportunity to be challenged and grow in a new role in OIE," commented Megan when asked why she decided to join OIE.
Nikki Stovall joined OIE at the start of 2021 and manages intake and assessment for OIE's compliance team. She started her career in education and accessibility working for the public school system to facilitate educational success for students with disabilities, and later transitioned to higher education after seeing her own students struggling with their transition in post-secondary education. On why she came to Duke, "I have focused much of my work on reducing the barriers that individuals face when navigating systems within higher education. This work led to my sincere desire to join the OIE team in hopes of better understanding the intersectionality of individual’s identities and how this might impact them while serving within the Duke community.”
OIE's newest team member, Sophia Brelvi, started in February this year as the Director of Affirmative Action and Compliance Programs. She has an extensive background in law and a passion for social justice. "Throughout my tenure as a Compliance and DEI practitioner in higher education, I have reveled in any opportunity to assess the efficacy of current policies and continually improve upon existing practices," said Brelvi. She previously worked as an asylum attorney advocating for survivors of human trafficking, as well as holding directorships at Morehouse College and Dartmouth College before arriving at Duke. When asked why she decided to transition to Duke, she stated, "Equipped with a passion for law and social justice, I have an earnest affinity for immersing myself in my local community and being an agent of positive change. I value meaningful engagement, appreciate genuine connections, welcome quality interactions, and am excited to join the OIE team as we work to advocate for equity across our campus communities."
Brelvi's higher ed experience includes the role of Director Title IX, Ethic, and Compliance at Morehouse College, and Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at Dartmouth College. In response to her new role at Duke, Brelvi believes that "promoting inclusivity and belonging goes well beyond diversity initiatives; these endeavors must include opportunities that empower underrepresented and minoritized populations. One critical facet of this work is being as transparent and accessible as possible."
The Office for Institutional Equity is delighted to welcome fresh, enthusiastic and creative talent. Their expertise will strengthen an already dynamic team, and they will undoubtedly make valuable contributions to the Duke community.
Learn more about OIE's staff on the OIE Staff Directory.
By Maria Moreno
© 2020 Duke Office for Institutional Equity