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Emily Babb named associate vice president for Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance

Babb will lead the office previously known as the Office of Equity

Emily Babb has been named Northwestern University’s associate vice president for Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, President Michael Schill announced today. Babb will join Northwestern on May 1, 2023.

Emily Babb
Emily Babb

Babb comes to Northwestern from the University of Denver, where she served as associate vice chancellor for Equal Opportunity and Title IX/Title IX Coordinator. Her responsibilities included overseeing the receipt, response and resolution of all reports of discrimination, harassment, and gender-based violence and Title IX hearings.

“I am delighted to welcome Emily to Northwestern,” Schill said. “The Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance is not only a critical resource for students, staff and faculty in times of need but also a symbol that Northwestern will never tolerate discrimination or harassment. I look forward to working with Emily and other leaders to ensure Northwestern is a safe and welcoming community for all.”

The Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance previously was called the Office of Equity. The University announced the unit’s planned name change in 2022, calling it a better reflection of the office’s primary responsibilities of ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination and accessibility policies, and responding to reports of sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment within the University community. The unit’s website was updated today, March 23, to reflect the name change.

“My career has been dedicated to civil rights compliance, and I am honored by the opportunity to grow this office at Northwestern,” said Babb, who will report directly to Schill. “I look forward to working with an administration that is committed to creating a comprehensive approach to civil rights and Title IX, and providing resources and policies focused on addressing discrimination and harassment of various forms.”

Babb emerged from a national search of candidates conducted by a committee representing Northwestern students, faculty and staff. The committee was chaired by Robin R. Means Coleman, vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and the Ida B. Wells and Ferdinand Barnett Professor, Department of Communication Studies, and Stephanie M. Graham, vice president and general counsel.

“I am thrilled to welcome Emily to Northwestern University,” Means Coleman said. “The search committee was impressed with the depth of her experience, leadership, and legal and scholarly understanding of Civil Rights and Title IX compliance work. Additionally, Emily is a strong communicator backed by great emotional intelligence. I am looking forward to our close partnership in support of the Northwestern University community.”

Babb joined the University of Denver in 2021. Prior to that, from 2017 to 2020, she was the assistant vice president for Title IX compliance and Title IX coordinator at the University of Virginia. At both institutions, she collaborated with various departments to respond to and resolve discrimination, harassment, gender-based violence and other cases, as well as coordinated Title IX hearings.

Before entering the world of higher education, Babb spent over a decade as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in both the Dallas and Cleveland regional offices, where she conducted and managed investigations into school districts, colleges and universities to determine compliance with the civil rights laws enforced by OCR, including Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, the ADA and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.

Babb holds her juris doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. As an undergraduate, she studied at DePauw University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and English literature. She and her husband, Kencade, have three children, Cicely, Finn and Virginia.