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Rutgers updates Title IX policy in accordance with Department of Education regulations

The Office of Compliance and Title IX, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Office of Student Conduct and the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance held an open forum to address concerns about sexual violence at Rutgers in July.
Photo by FacebookThe Office of Compliance and Title IX, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Office of Student Conduct and the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance held an open forum to address concerns about sexual violence at Rutgers in July.

Rutgers officials issued a new Title IX policy effective today. The policy is effective on an interim basis pending approval from the Board of Governors, according to a University-wide email sent by Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard L. Edwards.

Edwards said the policy reflects the new Title IX regulations issued by United States Department of Education on May 6 detailing how institutions should respond to incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, according to the email. He did not say which specific aspects of the new policy are different from the old one. 

“In developing this policy, Rutgers considered the best interest of our community while still meeting our obligations,” he said, according to the email. 

Edwards said members of the Rutgers community are encouraged to report sexual misconduct to the appropriate Title IX coordinator by telephone, email or mail. Individuals can also report an incident online, according to the email. 

The updated Title IX regulations from the Department of Education reflect the Supreme Court’s definition of sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive" according to an article from the New York Times. In accordance with the new regulations, those who wish to report an incident are also now required to report to someone with the authority to take action rather than someone like a resident assistant. 

The previous Title IX regulations called for a “preponderance of evidence” and discouraged cross-examination between accusers and the accused. The new policy allows schools to choose between a “preponderance of evidence” and “clear and convincing evidence” as the standard of proof and requires live hearings, where both the accuser and the accused can be cross-examined, according to the article. 

The University will continue to use the preponderance of evidence standard of proof, according to the new Title IX policy released by Edwards. 

The changes to the Title IX policy come just a few weeks after Student Affairs, the Office of Compliance and Title IX, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Office of Student Conduct and the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance held an open forum to address concerns about sexual violence at Rutgers. The town hall was in response to “recent disclosures regarding sexual violence at Rutgers University on various social media outlets,” according to the official website.