September 8, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Yesterday Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education intends to rescind the current guidelines for how colleges and universities handle sexual misconduct under the federal Title IX policy. Officials will begin a formal notice-and-comment process in preparation for changes in Title IX enforcement. Title IX remains in effect, as do the College’s policies, state and federal laws, and federal regulations regarding sexual misconduct that were in force before today’s announcement.

It is important for you to know that Amherst will not pull back from our commitment to preventing sexual misconduct, to redressing the harm that it causes, and to following processes that offer necessary safeguards both to those who are accused and those who bring complaints. The measures we have put in place in support of all parties engaged in a sexual misconduct matter surpass current Title IX policy and the guidance issued by the Obama administration. 

Sexual misconduct continues to plague our campus communities, causing harm that prevents survivors from having full access to the education they deserve. We will not give ground on our commitment to stopping it. We will continue to develop and use the most creative and effective efforts at education. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that members of our community feel confident in reporting incidents.  We will handle complaints in ways that are clear and equitable.

If you have any questions, please contact our Title IX Coordinator, Laurie Frankl. We also invite you to join us for a community conversation on Sunday, September 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the Powerhouse to talk about this issue and the other issues we have been experiencing as a community. 

Biddy Martin