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Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Updates

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released its final regulations under Title IX amending its regulation, most significantly about sexual harassment in education programs or activities. You can find a bookmarked PDF of the regulation here.

The federal regulation has limited the scope of what constitutes prohibited sexual harassment under Title IX. It raised the bar for what would previously be called “hostile environment” sexual harassment to be unwelcome sexual conduct that is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive. As many acts of sexual violence occur only once (and therefore are not pervasive), federal regulation sexual harassment now explicitly includes sexual assault, stalking, and dating/domestic violence, all as defined by the FBI. Further, the federal regulation sexual harassment only encompasses only those incidents that occur on campus, in student organization houses (i.e., fraternities and sororities), and potentially off-campus school-sponsored programs or activities that occur in the United States.

The majority of reports of sexual misconduct to the University fall outside of these parameters. However, all conduct of a sexual nature that previously constituted a violation of University policy will continue to constitute a violation of University policy. Such conduct may now be adjudicated under one of three different grievance procedures.

  1. The Federal Regulation Sexual Harassment Interim Policies (“Interim Policies”) address sexual misconduct that falls within the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX regulations. The interim policy is found as an Amendment to the Code of Student Conduct to address students and as an Amendment to the Equal Opportunity/Anti-Discrimination Policy to address employees. This policy is limited in its jurisdiction.
  2. Sexual misconduct involving students that does not fall within the scope of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX regulations is addressed, as before, by the Code of Student Conduct.
  3. Sexual misconduct involving employees that does not fall within the scope of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX regulations is addressed, as before, by the Equal Opportunity/Anti-Discrimination Policy.

As required by the final regulations, the Interim Policies include some additional due process requirements for adjudicating alleged violations, including the process we must abide for formal hearings. Please click here for an infographic explaining those requirements.  You can also learn more by viewing these two videos created by the University Sexual Misconduct Response and Title IX Coordinator.


To learn more about the Title IX regulatory requirements, please consider reading or watching the following sources that should be informative:

Webinar from the Office of Civil Rights summarizing the new regulations


Overview of the regulations from the Office of Civil Rights


Summary of regulations from the American Council on Education


News articles about the new regulations:

New York Times

U.S. News & World Report

Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed