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What Does an EOAA Office do for Higher Ed?

A structured EOAA office provides a place for victims to go for help.

Posted by Katie Yahnke on July 10th, 2019

An Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) is responsible for investigating reports of sex-based discrimination including all acts that violate the school’s discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or retaliation policies.

Depending on the size of the school, the EOAA office may be home to Title IX coordinators and liaisons, analysts, investigators, administrators, managers and directors. The office has many responsibilities, including:

  • Receiving and responding to reports of discrimination or harassment
  • Interviewing the accused, the accuser and any witnesses
  • Determining whether the behavior violates a school policy
  • Recommending disciplinary action
  • Providing education and training
  • Complying with related federal, state and local laws
  • Preparing an affirmative action plan
  • Implementing affirmative action initiatives


Summarize your Title IX investigations quickly and properly with this comprehensive Investigation Report Template for Higher Education.


Improves Safety of Staff and Students

The EOAA office may receive a wide range of reports including harassment between faculty, domestic violence in campus residences, sex-based discrimination during hiring, underfunding for all-female sports teams and quid pro quo harassment between professor and student.

It’s common knowledge that higher ed students experience sexual harassment and assault—Higher Ed Jobs reports 1 in 3 female and 1 in 4 male graduate students are victims. However, it’s often overlooked that faculty members do as well. One study found that 58 per cent of female faculty and non-faculty staff had experienced sexual harassment.


RELATED: Tackling Sexual Harassment in Higher Education


Higher ed institutions are complex and may be confusing for both students and staff, and it’s not always clear how to get support. Having an organized, structured EOAA office makes it clear where students, faculty and staff can go if they are victims of, or witnesses to, harassment or discrimination.


Promotes Diversity and Equal Opportunity

An EOAA office is tasked with developing policies and procedures to keep them on track to meet goals, monitor progress and comply with applicable federal, state and local laws.

To do this, the office prepares an annual affirmative action plan (AAP), and implements and monitors the programs contained in it. An AAP analyzes the workforce, identifies disparities in the employment of protected groups and then offers initiatives to promote equal employment opportunity, eliminate discrimination and remove barriers. In the context of higher ed, the same is done for the admission and progression of the student body to promote equal learning opportunities for protected groups.

Promoting diversity in higher education institutions is important for the well-being of society. According to the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education report, “racial and ethnic diversity comes with a host of benefits at all levels of education and in the workforce – greater productivity, innovation and cultural competency, to name a few”.

The same rings true for the diversity of age, sex, ability and more.


Support Your EOAA Office

EOAA offices are increasingly busy since more victims than ever have been coming forward with allegations of harassment and discrimination.

The Office of EOAA at Columbia University received 170+ reports of discrimination and discriminatory harassment in the 2017-18 academic year. That is a 54 per cent increase from the year before. The school also saw a 46 per cent increase in gender-based misconduct reports.

Many EOAA offices are realizing the benefits of using tools to meet their goals. Investigation software can help schools of any size, no matter how many students live on campus, how many faculty members are employed there or how many incidents their EOAA office investigates each year.

Download the eBook to learn more about conducting Title IX investigations with case management software.

Katie Yahnke
Katie Yahnke

Marketing Writer

Katie is a former marketing writer at i-Sight. She writes on topics that range from fraud, corporate security and workplace investigations to corporate culture, ethics and compliance.

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