Truman welcomes new institutional compliance officer

Truman State University has hired Ryan Nely as the new institutional compliance officer, replacing former officer Lauri Millot.

The institutional compliance officer is in charge of assuring Truman’s compliance with Title IX and discriminatory matters. They also ensure that the University has non-discrimination policies that comply with state and federal law.

Millot had served as the University’s institutional compliance officer since 2018. She is now the Title IX director for The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The institutional compliance officer position was posted in March. Applications started to get reviewed in April and Zoom interviews began in May with selected applicants. Nely was then invited to Truman in June for an in-person interview.

Nely described his job as mainly dealing with discrimination, harassment and abuse situations. He then conducts educational programming to further prevent any future incidents.

“I make sure we are complying with all the relevant state and federal laws and regulations that determine what we have to do in terms of any discrimination and creating a good environment,” Nely said.

If the University fails to comply with Title IX, Nely said the highest punishment would be Truman losing all federal funding.

The biggest goal Nely has for Truman is to help the University become a more safe and equitable environment for students.

A new campus climate survey will likely be conducted at some point during the academic year. This will help Nely determine how students, faculty and staff feel about their ability to make a report to him if they experience discrimination, harassment or sexual violence.

Nely is also the University’s chief equity officer. This position is responsible for ensuring the University pursues equitable policies that promote diversity and inclusion. 

Nely graduated from Truman in 2013 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and philosophy and religion. After graduation, he attended the University of Missouri School of Law to receive his Juris Doctor degree. 

After graduating, Nely worked at the Jackson County, Missouri, prosecuting attorney’s office in Kansas City. In January 2020, he began to work in private litigation until coming to serve Truman in August of 2021.

Working in higher education always interested Nely, with his interest building during his time as a Truman student. He was the student body president for Truman, which is where he developed an interest in the administrative side of the University.

“I didn’t know that Truman was going to be the place I would wind up, but that was always going to be my top preference because I had such a good experience here,” Nely said.

Nely learned many of the skills necessary for an institutional compliance officer during his time as a prosecuting attorney. He used to work in the special victims unit, which deals with cases involving sex crimes or domestic assaults. It was in this unit that he learned trauma-informed investigative techniques and practices that might help him interact with witnesses during sensitive situations.

During Truman Week, Nely spoke to the freshmen and incoming transfer students about consensual sex and discrimination.

“I hope that from that they were able to realize that I’m not super intimidating and I’m not somebody that you can’t come talk to and can’t get to know,” Nely said.

Melissa Garzanelli, director of human resources, was one member of the six person committee that conducted interviews for the position. 

University President Sue Thomas is the one who made the final decision to give Nely the position.

Garzanelli said Nely had a commitment to both the position and Truman that set him apart from other candidates.

“Ryan also brings with him experience working with victims of trauma, a commitment to staying up-to-date on compliance issues, and a desire to work collaboratively with other offices on campus,” Garzanelli said.

The Institutional Compliance Office can be reached by calling 660-785-4354, visiting Truman’s Title IX website or going to Violette Hall room 1308.

Other resources are available to students in addition to the institutional compliance office. The Department of Public Safety can be contacted to report sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. Other on-campus resources include University Counseling Services, Women’s Resource Center and Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Off-campus resources are available as well. The Missouri Crisis Line is available 24/7 to discuss any crises. The Northeast Regional Medical Center and Kirksville Police Department are also available to those in Kirksville.