CMC Hires Assistant VP for Investigations

Claremont McKenna College has hired Marcie Gardner as Assistant Vice President for Investigations, a new role intended to strengthen the college’s position on civil rights and Title IX.

The Assistant Vice President of Investigations position is “designed to bring an impartial, fair and neutral oversight to the process of investigating cases of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct cases,” according to a joint email statement from Vice President for Administration and Planning, General Counsel and Secretary of the College Matt Bibbens; Vice President for Student Affairs Jeff Huang; and Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Mary Spellman.

During the 2010-11 academic year, revisions were made to the review process for cases dealing with civil rights and Title IX, according to the statement. As a result, CMC established the positions of Title IX Coordinator and Chief Civil Rights Officer to have dedicated officers at the college focused on sexual harassment and assault and other civil rights issues.

The administrators wrote in the statement that once they hired Nyree Gray to serve as Title IX coordinator, they “then looked for the person best suited through professional experience and temperament to oversee the investigative process at the College.” 

Gardner is a former criminal defense attorney near San Bernardino. She has a wide range of experience defending juveniles and young adults across a broad spectrum of criminal cases.

“In thinking over some of my more fulfilling experiences as an attorney, the moments I had helping juveniles and young adults quickly came to mind,” she wrote in an email to TSL.

As a trial attorney, she handled approximately “a thousand client matters since 1997,” she wrote. “These matters have covered an incredible range of challenging topics, involved a wide variety of personalities, and each have presented with their own unique facts.”

The CMC Forum reported that, according to a letter from Bibbens, Gardner’s role is part of CMC’s development of a “comprehensive ethics and compliance program.” In addition to overseeing all investigations of sexual assault and civil rights complaints, Gardner will also help investigate compliance issues including “financial and non-financial reporting, conflicts of interest, privacy, and other significant employment matters,” Bibbens wrote in the letter. 

According to the joint statement from Bibbens, Huang and Spellman, Gardner’s position will support the Personal and Social Responsibility Initiative in creating a safe campus environment for students.

“In particular, we are focused on strengthening care and support response and resources,” the statement says. 

Junior Class President Ben Turner CM ’16 wrote in an email to TSL that Gardner’s new position is important for CMC.

“The hiring of Gardner represents to me, first and foremost, a commitment by CMC administrators to dealing with issues pertaining to sexual assault and violence,” Turner wrote. Having an individual as qualified as Gardner, to help wade into the often grey areas of interactions when it comes to sexual violence, will be an asset to the institution.”

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