Meet our team
The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) team is made up of individuals with a wide range of talents, skills, academic training, professional experience, and personal backgrounds. This diversity is crucial to our successful team approach to the complexities of civil rights work. We pride ourselves on constantly striving to integrate this richness into our approach to working with our campus constituents, case-related problem solving, and meta-analysis of the campus climate. We stress collaboration, continuous learning, and collegial respect in our day to day work, and search explicitly for those qualities and competencies when we search for new team members.
This page contains brief background information about each team member, including the pronouns that they use.
Alvaro Soria (he/him/his)
Senior Complaint Resolution Officer
Alvaro has been with OPHD since 2017. Before coming to UC Berkeley, he was an attorney with the San Francisco Office of the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, resolving complaints of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, gender, disability, and age against primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions. Alvaro has also worked as a staff attorney at Centro Legal de la Raza and Legal Services for Children. Alvaro received his B.A. and J.D. from Stanford University.
Ashok Rau (he/him/his)
Complaint Resolution Officer
Ashok joined UC Berkeley as an investigator in February 2020. Prior to joining the team, he worked as an investigator for five years at the World Bank Group's Ethics office reviewing allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other misconduct claims. Before his time at the World Bank Group, Ashok worked extensively for groups providing free legal services to lower income communities, as well as in local government. Ashok is a proud Golden Bear, having earned his B.A. in History from Cal, and after that he earned his J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
Chanel Smith (she/her/hers)
Chanel joined OPHD in 2016, bringing with her a strong background in public sector administrative management in both the higher education and health sectors. Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, Chanel worked in the student admissions and enrollment area at Golden Gate University. Prior to that she held various administrative roles in the mental health department in Solano County. Her background and experience include working with external and internal constituencies, and trauma informed customer service practices - a critical set of skills for OPHD’s particular scope of responsibilities. Chanel manages all aspects of OPHD administrative operations, and serves as the administrative resource for her OPHD colleagues, partner offices on campus, and visitors from within campus and externally.
Charlotte Russell (she/her/hers)
Interim Deputy Title IX Coordinator & Associate Director
Charlotte joined OPHD in January 2020 with extensive Title IX experience. Prior to joining the team, Charlotte served as the Title IX Coordinator for the University of Nebraska, Omaha. During her tenure there, Charlotte conducted and oversaw countless investigations, created the curriculum for and facilitated hundreds of trainings, and worked with numerous campus partners to develop programming with the ultimate goal of achieving an educational environment free of harassment and discrimination. Charlotte is a proud graduate of UC Davis.
Elizabeth Rome (she/her/hers)
Interim Associate Director of Investigations and Deputy Title IX Officer
Elizabeth joined the OPHD office in 2015. Prior to joining the team, she worked as an investigator for the Minnesota Department of Education, conducting investigations of alleged harm against Pre-K-12 students occurring in the public school system throughout the state. Elizabeth also spent several years as a judicial clerk working on criminal, civil, child protection and juvenile delinquency matters at the trial court level. Elizabeth earned her B.A. in English from Macalester College and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Elliot Yancor (he/him/his)
Elliot joined OPHD in May 2017. Elliot has 7 years of experience working in the public sector. Prior to joining the team, Elliot worked at the Continuing Education for the Bar assisting the Estate Planning and Business groups along with overseeing several records/data projects. Elliot has also worked at the PRA office at the UC Office of the President where he reviewed and evaluated sensitive information pertaining to the regulations of the California Public Records Act. Elliot is a Bay Area Native and received his B.A. in Business Management Economics from UC Santa Cruz and his M.P.A . with an emphasis in Policy Analysis from CSU East Bay.
Emily Suran (she/her/hers)
Complaint Resolution Officer
Emily joined UC Berkeley and OPHD in August 2019. Emily grew up in New York, and received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She worked as an associate at Milbank LLP in New York City before moving to California for a federal judicial clerkship. Throughout her career, Emily has provided hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services, working on behalf of organizations such as Sanctuary for Families, Advocates for Children of New York, and the ACLU. Her interest in Title IX work began as a college student, when she served as a Communication and Consent Educator for Yale University.
Kellie Brennan (she/her/hers)
Executive Director of Civil Rights & Whistleblower Compliance
Kellie joined OPHD in July 2020. She has over 16 years of experience that includes oversight of sexual misconduct investigations, management of federal audits, and adjudication of student conduct matters. Brennan most recently served as the Compliance Director and Title IX/ Clery Coordinator at The Ohio State University, where she managed the university’s investigation and response to incidents of harassment and discrimination and engaged in policy development, comprehensive prevention education, climate assessment and culture change initiatives. Brennan is a graduate of Indiana University, with a dual B.A. degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She has a law degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Rhona Taylor (she/her/hers)
Senior Complaint Resolution Officer
Rhona joined the OPHD team in summer 2019. Prior to joining the office, she was an assistant federal public defender at the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Northern District of California, as well as the Western District of Michigan, where she litigated complex financial fraud, internet crimes, drug trafficking and firearm offenses as well as child exploitative crimes, among other things. Rhona also served as a directing attorney for the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services in Seattle where she represented people confined in Washington's jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, mental health facilities, and facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, Rhona served as a public defender at the King County Department of Public Defense - The Defender Association Division. Rhona finds it a privilege to work on civil rights issues in an academic setting. Rhona earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law and her B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College.
Shaomay Vong (she/they)
Complaint Resolution Coordinator
Shaomay is responsible for the assessment of incoming discrimination and harassment complaints and formulation of initial responses based on allegations and other preliminary information gathering. Prior to joining the team, Shaomay worked with the impact litigation and policy advocacy teams at the ACLU of Northern California. Shaomay also spent time as an advocate at a domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking shelter agency and as a mental health worker at a mental health clinic. Shaomay earned two bachelor's degrees at UC Irvine, one in Psychology and Social Behavior and the other in Asian American Studies.