Title IX Update from President Biddy Martin

November 29, 2018

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Many of you are aware that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released draft amendments to the federal Title IX regulations on Friday, November 16. As of today, the draft regulations have been posted, which means the mandated sixty-day notice and comment period has officially begun. Just before break, you received a message from Laurie Frankl, our Title IX Coordinator, about the amendments. If the draft regulations are enacted in their current form, they will inevitably require some changes in Amherst’s policies governing sexual misconduct.

We are carefully reviewing the 149-page document and consulting with others to determine exactly what is being proposed and how the draft regulations could affect our own sexual misconduct policies and practices. Some of you are no doubt doing the same and may want to take advantage of the opportunity to submit a formal comment. In the meantime, Laurie has created a chart that compares key elements of the proposed regulations with existing Amherst College policies and practices. As soon as we have a clearer sense of the implications of the draft amendments, we will almost certainly wish to respond to them in the form of a comment.

After the notice and comment period has ended, the Department of Education will need time to review comments, decide on any changes to the draft regulations that are now posted, and respond in the final version to the comments they have received. Amherst will remain fully committed to promoting sexual respect, finding ways to prevent sexual misconduct, and responding swiftly, fairly, and compassionately to all members of the community who are affected by it.

I hope all current students will complete the College’s survey focused on sexual respect and sexual misconduct which helps us learn more about your experiences and gather important information that might bear on the Department of Education’s proposed changes. The survey is still open. Please take part.

I hope the semester comes to a good close for all of you. Please let me know if you have questions.

Biddy