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A Statement on the Department of Education’s Title IX Announcement

Sept. 8, 2017

Dear Members of the University Community:

On September 7, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education intends to replace the federal government’s current approach to Title IX enforcement and the adjudication of reports of sexual misconduct. Secretary DeVos stated that the Department will initiate a notice and comment process, seeking input from a variety of stakeholders, to consider new procedures for responding to reports of sexual misconduct.

While the specific federal requirements for colleges and universities may change as a result of this decision, what will not change is the University of Richmond’s unwavering commitment to prevent sexual violence, respond promptly to reports of any type of sexual misconduct, support survivors of sexual assault, and investigate and adjudicate reports in a manner that is fair and equitable to all parties involved.  

During the 2016–2017 academic year, the University implemented continued improvements to its sexual misconduct response and prevention resources and practices, adopting many of the thoughtful suggestions of the University community. Those enhancements included creating the Center for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response; reassigning the sexual misconduct investigative and adjudicative process within the University and engaging in that process independent investigators and an independent hearing officer; hiring a new psychologist in the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and extending CAPS’ hours; creating a new, full-time position of Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students and a new, full-time position of Sexual Misconduct Education and Prevention Coordinator; and partnering with Safe Harbor, a local advocacy center for victims of sexual and domestic violence, to provide on campus the services of a survivor advocate. We also created the President’s Advisory Committee for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (PAC), comprised of community members with varying experience and perspectives.

Our progress will continue during the 2017–2018 academic year. The PAC’s primary goal this year is to make recommendations, based on national best practices, for continuing to improve the University’s efforts around sexual misconduct education and prevention. Once again, the PAC’s deliberations will be informed by the perspectives of our campus community.

We intend to monitor this issue closely and to continue in our commitment to make improvements to our prevention of and response to incidents of campus-based sexual violence.

Sincerely,

Ronald A. Crutcher
President