Office of the President

January 28, 2019

Responding to proposed Title IX changes

Ana Mari Cauce

As I wrote here recently, the Department of Education released a set of proposed new regulations that would govern how universities address charges of sexual harassment and sexual assault under Title IX. During the comment period for the proposed changes, we conducted an analysis of the proposed rules to understand how they might affect our procedures, and held public forums and solicited online feedback to encourage the UW community to provide their thoughts. I thank everyone who took part in this process – your perspective and input were invaluable.

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We have submitted a formal response to the Secretary of Education with the UW’s comments about the proposed changes. I invite you to read the letter for a detailed explanation of our analysis and concerns. Broadly speaking, we are concerned that the rule changes would, if implemented, create confusion by introducing redundancies or contradicting existing laws and regulations, and that some of the changes would result in burdensome or intrusive requirements that would work against the needs of survivors, potentially having a chilling effect on reporting. We will continue to update this blog and the Title IX website as we learn more about what, if any, revisions the Department of Education makes as a result of the feedback it receives during the comment period.

Regardless of any rule changes, however, the University of Washington remains committed to gender equity and to providing and maintaining a respectful learning and working environment free from sexual harassment, sexual violence and gender discrimination. We are committed to a fair and neutral conduct process that includes due process protections and reaches conclusions of responsibility based on evidence, not stereotypes, assumptions or biases. This includes cultivating an environment in which the reporting process is supportive of survivors. These values will not change, and we will continue to work together to build a community that treats every member with dignity, fairness and respect.