William Boerner, who has served as Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SUNY Fredonia where he was responsible for Title IX initiatives for the past six years, joins Hobart and William Smith as the new Assistant Vice President and Title IX Coordinator on July 1.
Boerner will oversee the Colleges’ Office of Title IX Programs & Compliance, succeeding Susan Lee, who is retiring from the position.
“While learning about HWS, I have been continually impressed with the expert care by which the current Title IX staff, faculty and students have helped to shape positive cultural change for the Colleges regarding sexual violence prevention and response,” says Boerner. “I look forward to working with all members of the community, most especially students, to continue to engage the campus in this important work.”
“Bill brings a depth of experience not only on Title IX issues but also on a range of social justice issues in his former work as a Chief Diversity Officer, including Title IX, affirmative action, and ADA compliance. Bill connected right away with students, and I was particularly struck by his ability to listen, reflect and ask thoughtful questions,” says Assistant Professor of Education Naomi Rodriguez, a member of the hiring committee responsible for vetting and recommending candidates for the Title IX coordinator role.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes, who was also on that committee, says, “Bill demonstrated a superb combination of experience, approachability, knowledge and compassion. We were impressed by his ability to make connections with students and by his obvious commitment to achieve just outcomes in Title IX cases.”
Cassidy Dipaola ’19, one of the student representatives on the committee, notes the enthusiasm Boerner generated during the search process. During his campus interview, she says, “Bill had so much energy and was so well versed in the things a Title IX officer needs to be — intersectionality and how identity connects to the Title IX office. He knows about all these topics, but also had really tangible examples of what he’s previously done and ideas to implement. He did so much research about HWS and that’s what we need — someone who’s passionate about our school and the issues we face here.”
As Assistant Vice President and Title IX Coordinator, Boerner will report to the President of the Colleges and work closely with the General Counsel as well as the Division of Campus Life. Boerner will oversee a broad portfolio of responsibilities that fosters a welcoming, safe, non-discriminatory and harassment-free educational, living and working environment for all members of the HWS community. This role includes Title IX compliance and adherence to all applicable federal and state laws prohibiting unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual misconduct.
Boerner holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Johnson & Wales University; a master’s in education from the University of Connecticut; and bachelor’s in social science from Keene State College. His service at SUNY Fredonia also included leadership of the university’s Affirmative Action and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance efforts. He previously served as Morehead State University’s Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Education. He worked for the Mount Holyoke College Office of Residential Life for seven years, rising to the role of director.