Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
To: The Senate Executive Committee and The Senate Ad-hoc Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct
From: President Andrew Hamilton
The speech given last week by Secretary DeVos has raised uncertainty about the future direction of Title IX enforcement on our nation’s college campuses. I know this is a matter of continuing interest to the Senate, and I want update you on the University’s position.
- To foster an educational environment in which students can feel safe from sexual misconduct and know it is taken seriously by the University
- To prevent and reduce sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking
- To ensure that members of our community feel confident and respected in reporting incidents of sexual misconduct and are compassionately supported
- To respond to incidents of sexual misconduct with investigative and disciplinary processes that are impartial, professional, respectful, and fair to all involved
These goals reflect the values of our University community, and we are not prepared to take any steps back from them. While we should be open to a dialogue about due process and fairness, it must not come at the expense of making victims feel unsupported or unwilling to report incidents.
Since the DeVos speech, the US Department of Education has issued no new guidance or rules or directives to colleges. I will update the Senate if they do. However, if we perceive that any new rules undermine our goals – to keep our campus safe, to reduce sexual misconduct, to make it easier and more likely for people to step forward with reports of sexual misconduct, or to ensure that complainants and respondents are treated fairly and respectfully – we shall oppose them.