Mason’s compliance office gets interim Title IX coordinator and new name

Crystal Coombes

As George Mason University strives to be a national leader in anti-racism and inclusive excellence, a few changes in line with that goal have been implemented for the fall semester.

Formerly known as the Office of Compliance, Diversity and Ethics, CDE has changed its name to the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to better reflect the university’s vision.

Crystal C. Coombes, recently hired as Mason’s American with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, is now serving as interim Title IX coordinator. Both positions are based in the DEI office.

Coombes replaces Title IX coordinator Angela Nastase, who left Mason this month to take a position at the University of Maryland.

Coombes brings extensive experience in ADA and Title IX positions, most recently at Virginia Commonwealth University and at the University of South Florida. As interim Title IX coordinator at Mason, she will lead the university’s commitment to provide a learning and working environment free of sexual discrimination, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.

Coombes served as ADA coordinator and in related capacities at VCU from June 2018 until her arrival at Mason. Prior to that, she served for three years as director of Title IX/ADA in the University of South Florida system. She was responsible for Title IX vision, leadership and compliance efforts for 52,000 students and 18,000 employees.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Crystal’s vast experience to step into this role while we embark on a national search for a permanent Title IX coordinator,” said Dietra Trent, interim vice president for DEI. “Mason is committed to establishing and maintaining a culture of integrity and shared responsibility that holds each of us to the highest standard, and Crystal will lead these efforts.”

Coombes earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from VCU in 1983, a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia in 1987, and a master’s in English from National University in 2011.

As announced last month, Sharnnia Artis steps into the DEI vice president and chief diversity officer role Sept. 1. She currently is assistant dean of access and inclusion in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and Samueli School of Engineering, both at the University of California, Irvine.