To the Occidental Community:
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced today that it has withdrawn two pieces of Obama-era guidance that focused on sexual misconduct at colleges and universities--including the often-cited 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. It has replaced them with new interim guidance. While the DOE’s announcement was critical of the Obama-era guidance, the interim guidance issued today does not require any changes in Occidental’s existing policies and procedures. Nor will this interim guidance have any impact on the resolution agreement that the College signed with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) last year.
As I wrote to you on Sept. 7, Occidental stands by its Sexual Misconduct Policy and grievance process, which are fair, aligned with our mission and values, and consistent with federal and state law. Occidental is committed to educating and supporting its community, encouraging reporting of sexual misconduct, and providing a prompt and equitable grievance process to resolve such reports. Nothing in today’s interim guidance from the DOE changes this commitment.
Today’s interim guidance is just that--guidance. It is not the law. The DOE has stated it will be drafting new regulations and seeking public comment on those regulations during a formal comment period. We are looking into how the College can participate in that process. We will continue to keep you updated on any new developments.
Once again, we want to remind everyone of the on-campus confidential resources we have in place to serve and support our community. Please visit the Title IX website for complete list of available resources and more information.
Title IX Coordinator (Interim)