New university Title IX coordinator: “I want to hear from students” 

When Jamie Thayer’s children were teens, her home was the place their friends gathered. 

“It was a safe place for kids — the ones who didn’t quite fit in," she said. "They all came over, I heard a lot about what they were going through, and it was so different than what I grew up with.” 

A few years later, Thayer is now the new director of Institutional Equity and Title IX Coordinator, and she’s drawing from those experiences, as well as her own children, to help students feel heard. 

“I have a 21-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter, both are college students themselves, and they are my informal student advisory panel,” said Thayer, who with her spouse, Traci, also has a stepchild in college and one in high school.  

Jamie Thayer

In her role at PSU, Thayer ensures compliance with federal Title IX regulations, in place to ensure gender equality. While Title IX began in 1972 as a sports participation issue for females, it has evolved to prohibit sex discrimination (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity) in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance — which includes universities. 

“My goal is to educate, to create awareness,” she said. “Many students don’t understand the Title IX process, and I want them to feel heard, help them feel control of choices in the aftermath.” 

Having worked in Title IX at the University of Arkansas and for eight years in state corrections on the probation and parole side, she has had a great deal of trauma-informed training. 

“It has to be an impartial process — separate from criminal, separate from advocacy — but I don’t ever want students to feel like they don’t have a place to report or don’t have a voice,” she said. “My role is to provide them with all the options and resources available.” 

Thayer brings to the position a unique perspective: she was a single mom and returned to school in her 30s after dropping out. She earned a bachelor’s in psychology and criminology and a master’s in criminology from Missouri State University. 

Her plans for the position in the short term are to leave her office door open at 218 A Russ Hall and invite students, as well as faculty and staff, to drop by to meet her.  

“I strongly encourage especially students to come say hi,” she said. 

She is excited to begin putting together a student advisory board soon. And, next semester she’s planning to organize a monthly “Title IX Tuesday” that includes free food and a place where students can talk. 

“I can tell you regulations, I can tell you official steps, but I don’t know what it’s like to be a student, and I want to learn from them,” she said. “I want to hear their perspectives on what we need in terms of training, in terms of education, and what the issues are in specific areas.”


Learn more about Title IX and reporting incidents