Illustration by Tyler Carpenter
Additional Reporting by Lincoln Op’t Hof
Title IX coordinator and Equal Employment Opportunity director Melissa Frost, has been on extended leave for months, and university officials will not disclose complete details about her employment status.
As of Aug. 10, UVU’s Title IX office has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
BYU has been under OCR investigation since last year after the Title IX office failed to help victims of sexual assault, and as a result, the former Title IX coordinator was fired.
Scenarios such as the one at BYU raise questions about Frost’s employment status and her current role at Title IX.
Frost’s automated email states, “I am unexpectedly out of the office for an extended period of time. For assistance, please contact Cami Johnson or Laura Carlson as listed below.”
Frost is no longer listed on the Title IX webpage, and her name has been removed from the office placard of the office she used to occupy. Carlson is currently acting as the interim director while Frost is out of the office.
Associate vice president of University Marketing and Communications Stephen Whyte declined to comment on whether or not Frost is being paid, how long she will be on leave and the official date she went on leave, citing employee privacy. However, the answers to these questions are not considered private information under Utah law.
“To respect the privacy of our employees, UVU does not comment on personnel matters. Melissa Frost, UVU’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Director and Title IX Coordinator, has been out of the office for an extended period,” Whyte wrote in an email.
According to Utah Code the following records are open to the public: “the name, gender, gross compensation, job title, job description, business address, business email address, business telephone number, number of hours worked per pay period, dates of employment, and relevant education, previous employment, and similar job qualifications of a current or former employee or officer of the governmental entity. …”
The administration has also declined to comment on whether Frost will be returning to work at Title IX or whether she is being paid for the nearly four months of leave.
When asked, the UVU HR department declined to comment on whether it is unusual for an employee to take leave beyond the 12 weeks protected under federal law. The department referred Review staff to Stephen Whyte. However, UVU’s policy on leave says employees can take more if approved through the proper channels; Frost has been on leave for almost 18 weeks.
UVU’s Leave of Absence policy, “Eligibility for Leave Without Pay,” states that “full-time salaried employees who have provided at least six consecutive months of service may be granted continuous leave of absence without pay upon approval of their written application by the appropriate administrator, Human Resources, and the President.”