The U.S. Department of Education recently issued new guidelines for how universities and K-12 schools will investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct allegations beginning Aug. 14.
To ensure that students, faculty and staff are aware of the new rules and how they will work in practice, Title IX coordinators for all four campuses in the CU system have begun meeting with stakeholder groups to explain what has changed with Title IX, what will remain the same, and how the campuses can continue to address sexual misconduct with strong university policies that complement the new Title IX rules.
The new rules, issued May 6, require universities and K-12 schools across the country to implement the federal rule changes by Aug. 14, and provide appropriate trainings to all students, faculty and staff.
Faculty and staff will have access to updated training for the new rules in Skillsoft within their myUCCS portal beginning Aug. 17, and will be required to complete it within 30 days.
Incoming UCCS students receive training as part of their Gateway Program Seminar Gateway Days Aug. 20-21 before the start of the fall semester. Returning students will be provided guidance on how the new rules and definitions differ from the training they received before their freshmen year.
“Our goal continues to be to provide a learning, teaching, research and working environment where everyone feels respected and safe,” said Amanda Allee, director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX coordinator. “Through the implementation of these new policies and procedures, we will continue to respond to sexual misconduct allegations and focus on prevention.”
CU’s sexual misconduct policy, APS 5014, is being updated to include the new guidance. Allee said the policy will remain strong, and will continue to include full investigation of all sexual misconduct allegations; on- and off-campus jurisdiction; provision of supportive measures and services to victims; mandatory reporting by responsible employees; and procedural protections for all parties during formal investigations.
The federal government’s new regulations narrow sexual misconduct definitions under Title IX, specify jurisdiction for such cases, and prescribe grievance procedures and staff roles for adjudications. However, the regulations do not restrict universities from additionally addressing sexual misconduct outside the purview of Title IX, which UCCS will continue to do.
Mandated federal changes include definitions and terminology about what is considered prohibited conduct; the separation of roles between decision-makers and sexual misconduct investigators; and the inclusion of live, cross-examination hearings that provide cost-free advisers if needed.
Since fall 2018, when federal education officials issued proposed changes to Title IX rules, the CU system’s Title IX Committee has been analyzing them and working to establish a model for scenarios that are consistent with university policies and applicable laws. Committee members include campus Title IX, human resources and university counsel staff.
Enacted in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational settings that receive federal funds. This year, the U.S. Department of Education announced rule changes to the law regarding the adjudication of sexual misconduct cases on college campuses and in K-12 schools. The new regulations apply to the entire CU system of four campuses and will mean updates to the systemwide Sexual Misconduct Policy.