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Northwestern submits comments on proposed Title IX changes

University officials concerned that proposed new regulations will deter sexual misconduct complaints

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Northwestern University submitted public comments last week to the U.S. Department of Education regarding proposed amendments to federal regulations implementing Title IX.

Changes to the existing law could profoundly impact students who report or are accused of sexual misconduct as well as institutional liability.

Related: Read the complete Comments on Title IX Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 

Signed by President Morton Schapiro, the comments were both complimentary and critical of proposed changes.

"Northwestern shares the Department's stated commitment to providing a prompt and equitable process for all parties involved in sexual misconduct matters," University officials wrote. "In many ways, these regulations demonstrate this commitment."

However the University expressed concern about several aspects of the regulations: 

  • They would impose an unprecedented amount of control over a school's ability to handle disciplinary processes in a way that best serves our community and upholds our values.
  • Certain aspects would be unfair to all parties involved and will significantly deter students, faculty and staff from making sexual misconduct complaints.
  • The cost of implementation would be extremely high in terms of both financial and human resources.

Associate Vice President for Equity Sarah Wake said she was proud of Northwestern students and student groups, who submitted their own comments during the public review period.

"This shows that we care about each other," she said. "And that’s really the most important thing we can do as a community."

President Schapiro’s letter and the complete Comments on Title IX Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are available to read online.

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