Effective July 15, Hima Vatti began a new role as the assistant vice president for equity and equity investigations, and Title IX coordinator.
She takes on this role following the departure of April Castañeda, who has left the Institute to become the director of human resources at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Castañeda was charged with expanding the office's scope and staff to focus on all forms of unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, and discrimination.
As the assistant vice president for equity, equity investigations, and Title IX coordinator, Vatti will lead the Equity Office team, which includes the administrator, lead investigator, and deputy Title IX coordinator for students. Other deputy Title IX coordinators on campus and at JPL will coordinate with the office. Together, this team is responsible for promoting fair and impartial treatment and processes that support a community of inclusion, learning, professionalism, safety, care, and respect.
Of her new role, Vatti says that "Caltech occupies a unique and celebrated position in national and global scientific research, and plays a key role in educating our next generation of scientists and leaders. I feel honored and excited to help serve and strengthen the Institute's vision of an inclusive, supportive, and respectful research and educational environment."
She says that areas of focus for the office include working with students, staff, faculty, and other campus groups to bolster and expand inclusion efforts; educating the Caltech community about preventing and addressing discrimination, unlawful harassment, and sexual misconduct; and helping students communicate with each other about relevant issues including boundaries associated with drinking and sexual activity.
The Title IX Coordinator, in conjunction with JPL's Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Jackie Clennan-Price, oversees Title IX compliance of education programs at JPL.
Julia McCallin, the Institute's associate vice president for human resources, calls the position "an integral part of Caltech's commitment to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning, living, and working environment for its students, faculty, and staff members," adding that Vatti is especially well suited to fill that role.
"Hima has a history at Caltech of working collaboratively across the Institute and of being a thoughtful and inclusive colleague. She cares deeply about creating a work and academic environment that allows students, faculty, and staff to reach their full potential," McCallin says.
Vatti has been an associate general counsel at Caltech since 2009, counseling numerous campus and JPL teams and organizations to resolve equity, academic, and student issues, improve the fairness of policies and processes, and facilitate international scientific collaborations.
Before joining Caltech, Vatti held several educational and public service positions, including at Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa, helping villages organize initiatives to improve water sanitation, nutrition, and sexual health. She also served as a freshman dorm proctor at Harvard College, living in a residence with the students and advising on personal and academic matters. She holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.