To: The Wellesley College Community
From: Kate Upatham, Director of Nondiscrimination Initiatives and Title IX Coordinator/504 Coordinator
Re: New Federal Title IX Regulations
Date: May 12, 2020
As you may have seen, on May 6, the U.S. Department of Education issued extensive new Title IX regulations that make significant changes to how colleges and universities are required to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct. These new regulations include a number of changes for institutions, including altering how sexual harassment is defined under Title IX, and putting in place new requirements such as mandating a live hearing as part of a response to complaints of sexual misconduct. All educational institutions that receive federal funding will be required to amend their policies to be in compliance with the new regulations.
The College will spend the summer analyzing these changes and determining how to best comply with the law’s new requirements (which go into effect on August 14 of this year). Since the regulations require several changes to our current Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and our Policy Against Sexual Harassment and Other Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation, adapting our procedures will take some time. We will provide updates to the community as we assess how we will implement these new regulations. Please know that until our policies and procedures change, our current policies remain in effect.
Wellesley remains deeply committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of all members of our community. The College is proactively working on an ongoing basis to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring in our community, as well as responding promptly and effectively to stop sexual misconduct if it does occur. This commitment is illustrated not only by our work on campus, but also in our role as a founding member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education, which is dedicated to addressing and preventing sexual harassment across all disciplines, and among all people in higher education.
Our top priority as we analyze these new regulations will be to continue to focus on the prevention of sexual misconduct on our campus and to address these issues when they arise in our community with sensitivity and fairness.
If there are ever any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out, or access resources available to the community via the Title IX website.