Lawrence filled the position of Title IX Coordinator in early January. Sara Holtzman, the new hire, now works in the Title IX office in Brokaw Room 93, which has seen its fair share of coordinators come and go over the past few years. There is much more to this new person on campus than her position alone, however.
Holtzman is from southeastern Wisconsin but has taken what she called a “little tour of the United States” after completing her undergraduate education at UW-Whitewater. She left Wisconsin and headed to graduate school in southern Illinois, and then moved across the country to Arizona, where she did the bulk of her work in student affairs. Later, she moved up to Oregon.
While Holtzman may be new around campus, she is not new to her practice, having found a passion in postsecondary management skills while a student at Whitewater, where she worked as a residential assistant (equivalent to the Lawrence CA), housing intern and even a women’s rugby coach. Aside from participating in established affairs, Holtzman founded a volunteer organization called We Care.
She has worked in student affairs for about a decade now, typically in residential education and student engagement. In the last ten years, she has managed over 300 student organizations, the most notable being overseeing Greek life operations and advising student government committees.
It was in Arizona that Holtzman completed her first Title IX training. She took part in a certification program called ATIXA Level One for Investigators, which signified that she had properly learned how to conduct Title IX-related investigations. She knew that Title IX was always an “interest area” for her but had never taken the time to study the law before the training. Receiving that certification laid the foundation for her passion in the investigative field.
After she moved back to Wisconsin, a friend of hers who works at Lawrence recommended she check the campus out for employment opportunities. She clicked with Lawrence, and that drove her to apply for the Title IX Coordinator position, which she ended up being hired for. On Jan. 3, she officially began her time on campus.
“Outgoing” is the best word to describe Holtzman. During COVID, she took up a part-time job as a server because she simply “missed interacting with people.” She encourages people to stop by her office and get to know that there is a “real human being” always looking to lend an ear in the Title IX office.
Holtzman is already devising plans utilizing her outgoing personality to pull back the shadow cast over the Title IX office thanks to the rapid turnover rate and other issues. Bridging the gap between Brokaw 93 and the rest of the university is at the top of her “gigantic list of hopes and dreams.” Making a public presence at athletic events and performances is one of the ways she plans to get to know the Lawrence community, and in return, she hopes that the community will become familiarized with her. Eventually, her end goal is to turn “familiarization” into “trust,” so that when students need the Title IX office’s services, they can feel comfortable going to her. She imagines her experience working closely with students in the past will aid her in her pursuits.
Aside from the professional side of her agenda, Holtzman plans to advance personally at Lawrence. She expressed her excitement to participate in Lawrence traditions, make her mark in its long-standing history and immerse herself in the local culture.
Holtzman, too, has her own culture to share with her new community; she practices several dance styles, is an avid enjoyer of anime and is knowledgeable about mycology (the study of fungi) and the history and process of fermentation. Still, Holtzman reiterated her biggest wish for her new role in the Lawrence community — to accomplish rebuilding the wavering trust between her office and the rest of campus.
Always ready to lend an ear, Holtzman encourages students to stop by her office and meet her, even just to talk about their days. On a more professional note, she said she is enthusiastic about feedback and is ready to hear from the Lawrence community about how they would like to see the Title IX office improved as she takes on the role. If she is not out exploring campus or spending time with her “human” Dustin and their dog, one can find her in Brokaw 93, only one left turn away from the main entrance.