• University News
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Staff
Accolades & Honors

Vanessa Love is Pitt’s new director for civil rights and Title IX

A headshot of Love

Vanessa Love has been named the new director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX. Love began work April 24.

A native of Pittsburgh’s South Hills, Love is coming from the city’s Point Park University, where she helped create and served as inaugural assistant vice president to the school’s Office of Compliance and Integrity.

She is a three-time alumna of the University with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, a master’s degree in international affairs from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a Juris Doctor from the Pitt School of Law. A member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 2013, Love also has worked as an attorney in private practice, specializing in family law.

“Vanessa Love brings to us a proven track record of successfully guiding strategy and advancing an agenda to prioritize civil rights and Title IX response and education,” said Clyde W. Pickett, Pitt’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “We heard resoundingly from the search committee that her education and experience made her the most qualified candidate for this role. I am personally looking forward to her joining our team and bringing a fresh review and assessment of our work in the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX. I believe our community will benefit from her leadership, and that she will be a positive agent for change in our community.”

Love credited Pitt for launching and guiding her career.

“I always knew I wanted to come back to Pitt, because Pitt was always home for me,” she said. “When I arrived at Pitt, it was the first time people showed me everything that was possible for me. There was a real community of professors there who showed me they cared about me, and I want to be that kind of a person for other people in the community.”

A former Title IX investigator at Howard University and civil rights investigator at Community College of Allegheny County, Love began work at Point Park in 2019 as director of what was then a one-person office. During her tenure, Love built up staff and programming to deliver a full range of services related to equity, inclusion and accessibility.

At Pitt, Love will oversee education, professional development and outreach aimed at the prevention of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault. She will also lead and support personnel who respond to complaints related to alleged misconduct.

“The field itself is challenging, because you’re dealing sometimes with students, staff and faculty who have encountered horrible situations,” Love said. “They’re feeling frustrated and angry. We need to make sure that people who have experienced some kind of trauma are leaving us with a good experience.

“On top of that, the rules are ever-changing, so we have to make sure we stay in line with regulations from the federal government,” she said.

Love will report to Katie Pope, associate vice chancellor for strategic operations and planning in Pitt’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI).

Pope thanked Zach Davis, manager of OEDI’s gender discrimination and Title IX response program, for serving as acting director during the transition.

“His experience within the office has been an asset during this transition and I want to thank him for giving his time and effort,” Pope said. Davis will remain in the acting role through the end of April to assist with the transition period, she said.

Love is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves who served for four years in an engineering battalion based in West Virginia. She resides in Pittsburgh’s South Hills with her daughter, who will attend Duquesne University in the fall to study biochemistry. Outside of work, Love enjoys reading, particularly self-help books and fiction. “I like to work,” Love said. “I like to get stuff done. I’m not someone who enjoys micromanagement, but I am passionate about the work I do, and I think people who meet me come away knowing that I really care about the institution where I work.”