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CU begins implementation of new Title IX rules

US Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued new guidelines for how universities and K-12 schools will investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct allegations beginning Aug. 14.

To ensure that students, faculty and staff are aware of the new rules and how they will work in practice, Title IX coordinators for all four campuses in the CU system have begun meeting with stakeholder groups to explain what has changed with Title IX, what will remain the same, and how the campuses can continue to address sexual misconduct with strong university policies that complement the new Title IX rules.

Valerie Simons, associate vice chancellor and Title IX coordinator for CU Boulder’s Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC), is leading the systemwide implementation of the new rules issued on May 6. This effort is in addition to the work of a statewide committee she chairs that is providing recommendations to all of Colorado’s institutions of higher education required to update their policies under the new rules.

Mandatory trainings

No later than Aug. 14, universities and K-12 schools across the country are required to implement the federal rule changes and provide appropriate training to all students, faculty and staff.

To meet that deadline, all incoming CU Boulder students must complete online community equity and effective bystander intervention training that launched July 15 and includes new sexual misconduct policy and guidelines. Returning undergraduate students, new and returning graduate students, and all faculty and staff will be required to complete a similar course that will be available in August.

“We want students, faculty and staff to know that we are working to ensure a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all who come to our campuses to pursue their academic and career goals,” Simons said. “The only way to do that is by upholding strong policies, procedures and practices to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.”

Commitment to equity and fairness

Simons said OIEC and partner offices on other CU campuses are committed to providing equity and fairness during resolutions in sexual misconduct cases, to complying with new and existing applicable federal and state laws, and to creating processes that campus communities can understand and access.

CU’s sexual misconduct policy, APS 5014, has been updated to include the new guidance and approved by President Mark Kennedy. While the policy applies to the entire university, each campus has the authority to adopt implementing guidelines and procedures consistent with the revised APS 5014.

The policy remains strong, Simons said. Efforts that will continue include full investigation of all sexual misconduct allegations; on- and off-campus jurisdiction; provision of supportive measures and services to victims; mandatory reporting by responsible employees; and procedural protections for all parties during formal investigations.

The federal government’s new regulations narrow sexual misconduct definitions under Title IX, specify jurisdiction for such cases, and prescribe grievance procedures and staff roles for adjudications. However, the regulations do not restrict universities from additionally addressing sexual misconduct outside the purview of Title IX, which CU will continue to do, Simons said.

Mandated federal changes include definitions and terminology about what is considered prohibited conduct; the separation of roles between decision-makers and sexual misconduct investigators; and the inclusion of live, cross-examination hearings that provide cost-free advisers if needed.

Since fall 2018, when federal education officials issued proposed changes to Title IX rules, the CU system’s Title IX Committee has been analyzing them and working to establish a model for scenarios that are consistent with university policies and applicable laws. Committee members include campus Title IX, human resources and university counsel staff.

In order to review proposed policies and processes, Simons and OIEC also have met regularly with CU Boulder partner offices such as the Office of Victim Assistance, Student Legal Services, CUPD, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Faculty Staff Assistance Program, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, Athletics and student, faculty, and staff governance groups.

At a glance

Universities and K-12 schools across the country must implement new Title IX rules related to the investigation and adjudication of sexual misconduct cases. The new rules take effect Aug. 14. To meet the deadline, all students, faculty and staff must complete online training on university policy and effective bystander intervention training.

Incoming students must complete online community equity and effective bystander intervention training, which includes the new sexual misconduct policy and guidelines.

Returning students, graduate students and all CU employees will be required to complete similar training through a course that will be available in August.

What is Title IX?
Enacted in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational settings that receive federal funds. This year, the U.S. Department of Education announced rule changes to the pioneering law regarding the adjudication of sexual misconduct cases on college campuses and in K-12 schools. The new regulations apply to the entire CU system of four campuses and will mean updates to the systemwide Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Have questions or feedback?
If you have questions or would like to provide feedback about the Title IX revisions, please contact OIEC.

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CU streamlines state and federal lobbying operations

Tanya Kelly-Bowry

Tanya Kelly-Bowry, Vice President for Government Relations

CU’s primary state and federal lobbying operations will consolidate into the system Office of Budget and Finance after Vice President for Government Relations Tanya Kelly-Bowry retires from her position next month after 22 years of lobbying for CU.

Kelly-Bowry will scale back her role to work on state lobbying efforts beginning with the 2021 session of the Colorado General Assembly. She will no longer have a vice president title or administrative responsibilities. Current Vice President for Budget and Finance and Chief Financial Officer Todd Saliman will oversee the newly combined operation. With the elimination of Kelly-Bowry’s vice presidential position, the move will result in savings, said CU President Mark Kennedy, who lauded her service.

“Under Tanya’s outstanding leadership, CU’s Office of Government Relations has brought in millions of dollars of state and federal funding to CU every year and saves millions more by seeking to prevent potentially damaging legislation, so it is a crucial part of our operation,” Kennedy said. “We are grateful we will continue to benefit from Tanya’s experience and expertise, and we know that with Todd’s skills and years of experience in government and lobbying that he will maintain a high level of performance in the new, streamlined structure.”

Saliman, whose title will change to senior vice president of strategy, government relations and chief financial officer, previously served in the Colorado General Assembly, including a stint on its Joint Budget Committee, which sets the state budget. Before coming to CU in 2012, he was the state’s budget director in the administration of former Gov. Bill Ritter. He has teamed with Kelly-Bowry and her Government Relations operation over the past several years to lobby the Joint Budget Committee and Legislature.

“The staff in Government Relations is a high-functioning team that serves CU extremely well, and I am fortunate to get to work even more closely with this terrific group,” Saliman said.  “I’m particularly pleased that Tanya will continue lobbying for us. She’s the best lobbyist in the state, with a stellar reputation at the Capitol along with a deep understanding of CU, its needs and issues.”

Kelly-Bowry leaves stellar lobbying legacy at CU

Over the course of her successful 22-year career lobbying for CU, Tanya Kelly-Bowry and her team have secured close to $3 billion for the university through state and federal legislative efforts. After retiring from CU next month, she will continue her efforts in the 2021 session of the Colorado General Assembly, but without administrative duties or a vice presidential title.

“Since I first became a legislator, Tanya Kelly-Bowry was always the go-to person for me. She knew the Legislature, worked on key issues, was trustworthy and competent,” said Colorado General Assembly House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “CU has been lucky to have her over the years, and I was lucky to be able to work with her on so many important policies.

“I am also happy my friend Todd Saliman will carry on her legacy in Government Affairs for our great university,” Becker said.

The funding she and her team secured includes money from the state General Fund, earmarks and state and federal capital construction appropriations. Over her career, Kelly-Bowry has worked on thousands of pieces of legislation with some 400 legislators and congressional members, five governors, as well as the executive branch and federal agencies from both sides of the political aisle. In the course of her CU career, she has worked with 34 regents, 17 chancellors and six CU presidents.

“I’ve had a great ride at CU and have been honored to work for dedicated Regents, six presidents starting with John Buechner, Sandy Bracken, Betsy Hoffman, Hank Brown, Bruce Benson and Mark Kennedy and our incredible chancellors,” Kelly-Bowry said. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life and am happy to continue to be a CU champion in my new role at the Capitol.”

Kudos poured in from state and federal elected officials after her retirement announcement. Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Brighton, said Kelly-Bowry has always delivered for CU.

“Tanya is an incredible lobbyist for CU. She works her heart out and bleeds black and gold,” Priola said. “The university is in good hands with Todd Saliman, Heather Retzko and Jerry Johnson, and I’m so glad I’ll continue to see Tanya under the gold dome.”

U.S. Congressman Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, said she leaves big shoes to fill.

“I am honored to wish my friend and confidante Tanya Kelly Bowry all the best as she transitions to a new phase in her career,” Perlmutter said. “We have known each other for years, since I served in the state Legislature, and she has been a key adviser of mine and one to so many elected officials, the leadership at CU and the Board of Regents. We have worked issues affecting every CU campus in the state, but I’m particularly proud of our work in the space industry. Together we fought to successfully bring the National Solar Observatory to Colorado and CU.

“Every year we work to try and secure full funding for labs and research facilities that provide cutting-edge technological breakthroughs recognized nationally and around the world, “ Perlmutter said. “We worked closely on the Anschutz campus build-out and the successful relocation of the University Physicians Inc. to campus, and during the construction of the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical facility.

“On a personal note, I will miss Tanya’s service to us on behalf of the University, her can-do attitude and positive spirit,” he said.

Kelly-Bowry lauded CU’s faculty, staff and students.

“Our incredible faculty are second to none, our staff are amazing and our students bring me hope for the future,” she said. “Our state and federal Government Relations team is, bar none, the best in the nation. I have every confidence that Todd Saliman will do a fantastic job in his expanded role. He’s exceptionally capable, and CU is in good hands.

“Thank you, CU, for allowing me the great honor to serve with my exceptional VP colleagues in this role.”

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Staff Council discusses fall return to campus with President Kennedy

With fall’s return to campus approaching, CU President Mark Kennedy joined the July 16 meeting of the University of Colorado Staff Council (UCSC) to provide an update and take questions from council members.

CU President Mark Kennedy

“I appreciate the good work you do,” Kennedy said during the meeting, which was held remotely via Zoom. CU staff has remained efficient and productive during the pandemic, he said, “and we thank you for your extra effort.”

As faculty and students ready to return to the four campuses next month, Kennedy acknowledged that “there’s clearly going to need to be some degree of coming back to work” for many staff. Others, though, who in March moved to remote working for most or all of their responsibilities should expect to continue in that mode.

“To the extent you can deliver and be productive while working remotely, great,” Kennedy said. “That’s still the modus operandi.”

When asked if remote working would remain in widespread use even after the pandemic has ended, Kennedy said such decisions will be made at the campus level.

“At 1800 Grant, I fully expect some of our employees post-pandemic will be working exclusively from home, while some will be splitting their time between home and office,” Kennedy said. “There’s not a resistance from the system toward the campuses exploring those options.”

Kennedy said he expects work units will undergo facility usage studies, such as one taking place at 1800 Grant St. Office sharing and hoteling are likely to grow more common. Current budget pressures don’t allow for efficiency-improving remodeling projects, which may eventually be feasible.

Kennedy provided an overview of back-to-fall preparations being made at the campuses, highlighting what the four chancellors presented to the Board of Regents last week. Testing and tracing will be ongoing, and campuses are making arrangements to allow for isolation of students who must be quarantined.

“There have been and there will be positive (COVID-19) cases on the campuses,” Kennedy said. “The only question is, if whatever happens grows beyond our ability to test, trace and isolate, would we need to move back to closing down campuses? We’re hoping that isn’t the case.

“We’re in a far better position than we were at the start of the pandemic, but we recognize that only foolish people would make plans set in stone during this very turbulent time. We’re prepared to adjust.”

As for furloughs now under way across the system, Kennedy said uncertainty over enrollment and other coronavirus-related factors make it difficult to say whether furlough durations might be reduced or extended.

“Some of the full-time furloughs will likely be lifted in the weeks and months ahead,” he said.

Kenney also reviewed recent activity at the system and campus levels pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. He said university leadership will more frequently report on the topic at meetings of the Board of Regents; in August, he’ll issue a compendium of activities, decisions and actions already taken as well as future goals. Diversity, equity and inclusion is one of four pillars of the president’s strategic planning process, which was paused at the onset of the pandemic but which is resuming presently.

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Facing tough road of cancer treatment, Scott Ryberg just kept running up mountains

The day after Scott Ryberg lost his mother to lung cancer, the trail, as always, beckoned.

Running has taught him that life ebbs and flows, and the surest route to making it through the worst parts is putting one foot in front of the other.

Just a few months later, in October 2018, after a routine visit to his rheumatologist for an autoimmune condition known as Sjogren’s syndrome which causes dry mouth, Ryberg ran up against his own health scare. Doctors discovered oropharyngeal cancer, located at the base of his tongue, which had traveled to lymph nodes on the left side of his throat. Fortunately, it hadn’t spread beyond the throat.

His treatment plan was devised by Antonio Jimeno, MD, PhD, professor of medicine/oncology and otolaryngology, and Ryan Lanning, MD, PhD, assistant professor, radiation oncology, in the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Antonio Jimeno

“Head and neck cancer and chemoradiation is probably one of the hardest things we do in oncology mainly because it’s the area of the body where we interact with the world – it’s taste, it’s swallowing – and all of those things get altered during treatment,” Lanning said.

Leaning in

In Ryberg’s case, however, it didn’t alter his drive to run for miles on end, often through the mountains. At the time of his stage 1 cancer diagnosis, he was as fit as a 56-year-old could be. He simply decided to lean into his “one-foot-in-front-of-the-other” philosophy harder than ever.

Jimeno talked with Ryberg about the treatment ahead – seven weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, made more difficult by his pre-existing autoimmune disease. “From the beginning, it was a challenging case medically, but we had a feeling he was going to do fine because of his motivation and his approach to problems,” said Jimeno, who is also director of the Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Research Program.

As part of the comprehensive approach to care, his doctors recommended he take part in Bfit Bwell Cancer Exercise Program – a joint initiative between the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, the CU Cancer Center and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. The program is custom-tailored to cancer patients, helping them maintain strength and conditioning during treatment regimens. Ryberg was still doing plenty of running on his own, so Bfit Bwell added strength training while helping to decrease his fatigue.

Benefits of Bfit Bwell

Both Jimeno and Lanning say the program, which is pioneering at the national level, delivers phenomenal benefits for patients. “Very few places have a program as convenient as we do,” Jimeno said.

Lanning said when patients ask how much they should exercise during treatment, he recommends doing “whatever you’re comfortable with.” So, when Ryberg’s seventh week of treatment came around, when energy levels are typically at a low ebb, Lanning asked the runner how he’d been doing. “He’s like, ‘Well, over the weekend, I ran six miles.’ … He’s our benchmark for what we should all aspire to, whether we have cancer or not.”

While Ryberg had already logged several marathons, and in 2015 he completed a 29-day traverse (mostly running) of the 500-mile Colorado Trail, he was about to, post-cancer, embark on two of his greatest feats.

Virtual race across Tennessee

In early May 2020, a little over 14 months post-treatments, he heard about the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, a 635-mile race. Over 19,000 people representing over 40 countries signed up. They logged their running mileage on Fitbits, Apple Watches or other fitness-tracking devices.

The race began May 1, so Ryberg was already five days behind the field when he began logging miles.

“At first I had planned to finish at the end of July, then I thought end of June, and then, ‘Well, how about I finish around the last day of spring?’” Ryberg said.

He began running long days after the first week of June, and on each of six of the last seven days he logged over 20 miles. He finished the race on June 16, placing No. 530 to put him in the top 3 percent overall.

“I didn’t expect to do that well,” he said. “My doctors just say, exercise, exercise; it’s interesting what the body can do if you just apply yourself.”

Traversing the Colorado Trail

Running Tennessee width-wise wasn’t quite enough, so on June 1, when the virtual Colorado Trail Challenge (CTC) began, Ryberg signed up, logging miles (his Tennessee and Colorado miles overlapped for two weeks) along with an ultra-marathoner friend as part of a two-person team.

They scorched the 500-mile virtual distance in just two weeks, obliterating the 92-team field. They each logged roughly 250 miles and finished June 14, with the second-place team finishing the race on the last day of June.

Feeling pain, feeling joyful

Ryberg likes to point out that he finished the 635-mile virtual race in less time than it took for his seven-week cancer treatment. Like running, the cancer journey was marked by periods of pain and happiness. “In my cancer treatment, sometimes the pain was extreme and other times I was really joyful working with my treatment team.”

Scott Ryberg and his wife, Rebecca, frequently hit the trail together. Scott says Rebecca played a huge role during his treatment and recovery.

He credited the entire team – receptionists, nurses, radiologists and speech and physical therapists – at the CU Cancer Center and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital for his exemplary care. “I’ve never had doctors as good as Drs. Jimeno and Lanning, and I could just tell they care about their patients and trying to get them to the healthiest place possible,” Ryberg said.

‘I’ve never had doctors as good as Drs. Jimeno and Lanning, and I could just tell they care about their patients and trying to get them to the healthiest place possible.’  – Scott Ryberg

Rebecca Ryberg – “an angel,” he calls his wife – also played a huge role during his treatment and recovery. She monitored his caloric intake, helped maintain his weight, shuttled him to appointments, comforted him through side effects, and offered constant encouragement. “She was the glue holding me together,” he said. “All the love, understanding and emotional support she gave was instrumental.”

Integrated care

The doctors said Ryberg’s type of cancer has a cure rate of above 95%. “We’re lucky at (UCHealth) in that we have great support staff in our nutritionists, dieticians, speech and swallowing therapists – that’s again something that many places don’t have. And it’s all integrated,” Lanning said.

“It takes a village, and we have that village, also with specialized providers at every level (ENT surgery, radiology, pathology)” added Jimeno, who marvels that Ryberg’s slowest running times during his cancer treatment were still faster than his own best-ever mile. “This is the privilege we have (as doctors). We treat ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and sometimes the outcomes just exceed our expectations, and he was one of them.”

Thanks to his care, which also preserved his salivary glands, Ryberg’s physical function is no different than before the cancer. So, for Ryberg, it’s ever onward up the trail.

“I’ve always enjoyed running and being outdoors, so it came easy to me (during the treatments),” he said. “I’m fortunate I can run and process things in life. It’s been the key to my well-being through all my cancer treatment and being able to find peace with life.”

This article was originally posted on news.cuanschutz.edu