Posted: January 30, 2019

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 30, 2019 – I wish to publicly express my disappointment in the recently proposed changes to the Title IX regulations by the U.S. Department of Education. The proposed changes undermine our determination to continuously make our campuses safer, more welcoming, and more supportive for all – students, faculty, and staff alike.

At Minnesota State, we believe in the clear and powerful language of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which declares: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The sexual harassment or sexual assault of a student by a member of a campus community threatens that student’s right to equal access to higher education. As has been made clear in Minnesota State Board Policy 1B.3 Sexual Violence Policy, sexual assault is an intolerable intrusion into the most personal and private rights of an individual. That is why we are committed to eliminating sexual violence in all forms and will take appropriate remedial action against any individual found responsible for acts in violation of our policy.

I am deeply concerned that the proposed regulations weaken Title IX protections and impede access to justice by limiting campus responsibility to investigate a complaint, significantly decreasing the number of campus employees to whom sexual assault and harassment must be reported and by requiring overly prescriptive and unduly burdensome grievance procedures that may discourage victims from coming forward.  But perhaps most concerning is that the regulations narrow the definition of sexual harassment to only cover “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.”  I fear that this proposed standard may actually increase harassment by only allowing our colleges and universities to address harassment when it has become severe.  Our remedial efforts should not have to wait until complainants are effectively denied equal access to our programs.

We must do better for our students and for our campus communities, and the proposed regulations do not meet that standard.   

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Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.