Courtesy of Dr. Lauren Elan Helsper
Cerritos College welcomes Dr. Lauren Elan Helsper as its new Director of Diversity, Compliance and Title IX Coordinator. With a vast amount of experience, training and education, Helsper joined Cerritos at the beginning of this semester on Jan. 11.
Previously to working at Cerritos, she worked in the office of Equity and Diversity at USC for about six years. In this capacity she honed her skills by assisting with the university’s threat assessment process.
Next she transitioned to USC’s Title IX office where she focused on protected class investigations involving students.
“During my time in the USC Title IX Office, I took on many roles including outreach, investigations, facilitation of supportive measures, conducting alternative resolutions and facilitating trainings for campus partners and students,” Helsper said.
“Working with students is my passion. While at USC I also served as a student crisis case manager for about 4 years and there I assisted students in distress navigate the university in order to ensure their success and wellbeing,” said Helsper.
Her primary responsibility as the Director of Diversity for Cerritos College will be to investigate and resolve legal issues such as disciplinary actions of faculty and staff, sexual harassment complaints, coordinating legal matters with the District’s counsel and a vast array of other duties that include training and assisting students in knowing just what their rights are.
In August of last year, sexual harassment and other misconduct accusations including bullying were leveled by former players against several women’s soccer coaches.
An investigation was opened and only recently completed. Subsequently, the previous Title IX Coordinator resigned the position prior to the completion of the investigation.
Helsper said the accusations and investigation occurred prior to her arrival at Cerritos and declined to comment on status of the investigation or any other information about this situation.
She obtained both a Master’s and Doctorate degrees from USC. Her doctorate degree focused on mental health services for graduate students engaged in distance learning programs.
“The topic was very appropriate given the fact that nearly everyone is remote learning at this time,” she said.
Helsper is also a married mother of two young son’s. Her oldest son is five years of age and her second son is two.
“I met my husband Zach in graduate school. We were both in the Student Affairs Master’s program. My husband also works in higher education,” she said.
When she’s not working, she enjoys crafting, creating cards, invitations and calendars with her mother.
“For the past six years, we have decorated calendars to give as gifts during the holidays. Each year we pick a theme and collect materials pertaining to that theme. I also love yoga. I find it cathartic and always finish feeling refreshed,” she said.
“The Diversity, Compliance and Title IX team is always available to consult with community members regarding rights, resources and supportive measures.
Meeting with my office does not necessarily result in an investigation, but it merely educates you to your rights and options.
Students, staff, and faculty members who have been impacted by sexual and/or protected class misconduct are entitled to supportive measures that are free of charge,” Helsper said.
For further information and frequently asked questions click this link if you are a victim or this link if you are a person being accused of sexual misconduct.