To the Community
As I announced to the community last fall, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) proposed new Title IX regulations that will govern how colleges and universities handle cases of sexual misconduct. The DOE allowed for a 60-day comment period for any individuals or institutions to provide feedback.
Like hundreds of peer institutions, Occidental submitted comments on the proposed regulations. Oxy’s comments deal specifically with how the proposed changes could affect our current policies and procedures. More broadly drawn comments were submitted by the American Council on Education on behalf of ACE and five dozen other higher education organizations, including several of which Oxy is a member (NCAA, NASPA, NACUBO, CASE, AICCU, NAICU).
It’s not clear how the thousands of comments submitted might affect the proposed regulations, or when any new regulations will go into effect. The Department of Education is required to respond to the comments, a process that could take months.
It is important to distinguish between the proposed federal regulations and the recent California Court of Appeals decisions that required Oxy to adopt an Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy that went into effect on January 25. When the Department of Education issues its final Title IX regulations, we may need to further revise our interim policy with the input of the Oxy community.
Regardless of what lies ahead, Oxy remains committed to our fundamental goal of eliminating sexual misconduct on campus and to the idea that the best way to address sexual assault is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The College also remains committed to providing support to survivors and ensuring a fair process for all parties.