(Link to the full version online at:
For Immediate Release
NCHERM applauds the release on Monday by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of a Dear Colleague letter giving higher education greater clarity on how Title IX impacts on campus sexual violence.
Announced with a press conference at the University of New Hampshire by Vice President Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and coupled with an announcement from the Obama White House, the spotlight on campus sexual assault clearly showed how significant a priority Title IX is for this administration.
Our hope is that this guidance will lead to policy and practice changes on college and university campuses that will more effectively empower and embrace the rights of complaints, and further the goal of an equitable result via an equitable process.
The hesitation to embrace correct standards of proof and rights such as complainant appeals, moving an accused student to alternate housing, and keeping a complainant apprised of the investigation have resulted in years of successful legal challenges to and liability for colleges and universities. We are optimistic that OCR’s action will bring about a sea change now.
Acting on the Dear Colleague letter with revised policies and practices will more effectively shield campuses from liability because it offers campuses a roadmap for delivering prompt and effective remedies to campus sexual violence.
Yet, it is important to recognize that the substance of the Dear Colleague letter is not new. With this Dear Colleague letter, OCR has not expanded Title IX. What OCR has done is finally to promulgate guidance that reflects the substance of its enforcement.
To date, that enforcement has been accomplished campus-by-campus, without public dissemination of the findings and compliance requirements. We’ve had to read tea leaves to discern OCR’s expectations. Now, we have greater clarity on a number of key issues.
To help you determine the course of your campus reaction, NCHERM has updated the free resources available on the Title IX section of our website. There you will find a series of links to recent OCR actions, announcements, decision letters and compliance resources. Additionally, the entire OCR case letter file of more than 200 Title IX findings on complaints of sexual violence against colleges and universities is now available freely available online as the result of a collaboration between NCHERM and the Center for Public Integrity to publicize these documents.
We hope these resources will be invaluable to your campus.
Visit the link above to access to extended version of this reaction, including direct links to the resources noted above, and details about four upcoming Title IX related events from NCHERM including our rapid response webinar on the OCR Guidance, two upcoming institutes on sexual misconduct, and our first-ever Campus Title IX Coordinator Training and Certification Course.