We are writing to inform you that the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights recently issued proposed amendments for the implementation of Title IX’s prohibition against sex-based discrimination, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex-based discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.
The proposed amendments come in the midst of our community’s ongoing, important conversations about safety and well-being, including prevention and awareness of and response to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct. While Title IX’s prohibition against sex-based discrimination remains intact, the proposed Title IX regulatory amendments seek to revise, among other matters, what constitutes sexual harassment for purposes of rising to the level of a civil rights issue under Title IX, and what triggers a school’s legal obligation to respond to incidents or allegations of sexual harassment. In light of the proposed regulations, it is important for the campus to know that the University’s focus on strengthening our response protocols, prevention and awareness efforts, and student-centered support and resources will not diminish.
Staff in the University’s Office of General Counsel are working with the Office of the Maryland Attorney General and University System of Maryland colleagues to understand how the proposed regulations relate to current Maryland law and USM policies that regulate issues of sex-based discrimination in higher education. All upcoming Title IX training at UMBC will address current standards and provide a broad overview of the proposed new rules. In addition, when more is known, Title IX staff will meet with the Retriever Courage Student and Faculty/Staff Advisory Committees to share background and discuss the potential impact of the proposed regulations on UMBC policies and practices. We will continue to be guided by our values and work to provide a safe, supportive, and equitable environment for all students and employees.
The next step in the federal rulemaking process is that the Department of Education will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, and the notice will state the date by which all comments must be submitted. Once the comment period opens, individuals and institutions may submit comments on the proposed regulations for 60 days. We will continue to monitor the regulatory process and keep the campus community updated on key developments.
We encourage those who have observed or experienced sexual violence/misconduct to seek support as needed at any time. There are many resources available on campus and in the community that offer confidential medical support, confidential psychological/emotional support, and interim protective measures (e.g., no-contact orders, housing adjustments, academic concerns). For emergency situations, contact campus police via 410-455-5555 or local police via 911.
President Freeman Hrabowski
Provost Philip Rous
Adam Harvey, Chair, University Steering Committee, and Vice President, GSA