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UNM opportunity office has new director

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico’s Office of Equal Opportunity has added a new director, additional positions and a reorganization of some duties.

The OEO is tasked with ensuring the university is in compliance with frequently updated federal laws designed to protect students and ensure their safety and well-being, among other things, UNM said in a news release.

Attorney Francie Cordova has been named director of the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Robert Burford, longtime student conduct officer, will move from the Dean of Students’ Office to OEO to become the university’s first full time Clery Act compliance officer. The act mandates colleges and universities to compile crime and security information.

CORDOVA: “A lifelong civil rights activist”

CORDOVA: “A lifelong civil rights activist”

Heather Cowan is advancing from her current job as compliance manager to be the Title IX coordinator, a position she had been serving in on an interim basis. The office is also hiring a compliance assistant.

“The OEO and its staff are critical in UNM’s efforts to respond fairly and properly to the tough issues that contemporary college campuses may face, such as gender discrimination, sexual misconduct or sexual violence,” UNM President Bob Frank said in a statement. “We believe we’ve selected just the right people with valuable experience and expertise for these key positions.”

Cordova is currently the assistant chief counsel for the California Department of State Hospitals and has dealt with a variety of OEO issues. She also is a previous director of the New Mexico Human Rights Division, which investigates and issues determinations on every claim of discrimination filed in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation.

“I’ve been a lifelong civil rights activist who strives to increase access to education, wages, employment, and housing for all communities,” Cordova said. “I look forward to working at the UNM, where I plan to collaborate with campus and community partners.”

Burford, who has worked at UNM for more than 20 years will take over his new role as Clery Act compliance officer on Aug. 17. He will coordinate campuswide efforts on reporting crime data and other compliance requirements such training and education programs, and will work closely with the Title IX team at OEO.

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