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AICUM Statement on U.S. Department of Education on the Department’s proposed changes to Title IX


August 25, 2020

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) today submitted written comments to the U.S. Department of Education on the Department’s proposed changes to regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. These comprehensive written comments reflect the expertise and perspectives of a broad and diverse group of AICUM institutions and our public sector colleagues, who are guided by principles of equal access, fairness and care for all members of their campus communities.

Statement from Richard Doherty, AICUM President

There are no greater priorities for Massachusetts’ colleges and universities than the well-being of their students, faculty, and staff as well as the safety of their campuses. AICUM‘s member institutions remain dedicated to providing a learning and working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, including on the basis of sex, as contemplated by Title IX. This commitment can be found in the campus policies, procedures, and resources designed to prevent sexual assault and to respond promptly and fairly when an incident occurs. It is imperative that regulations allow schools to build on their essential and ongoing efforts to support students and their communities. This critical work is not only a matter of compliance with Title IX, but also as a matter of state law and, even more essentially, this commitment stems from the values of fundamental fairness and principles of the institutions themselves.

Colleges and universities in Massachusetts are concerned that many aspects of the Department’s proposed regulations will hinder Title IX’s goals. We are concerned that the proposed regulations will:

  • deter victims from coming forward to seek an institution’s assistance in ending discrimination
  • work to the detriment of both parties, witnesses, and the institutions
  • require overly prescriptive processes that add time and expense to the resolution of complaints
  • and prevent a college or university from exercising discretion to conduct processes in a way that best serves its unique campus community.

In effect, the proposed regulations, as currently drafted, may undermine rather than advance Title IX’s very purpose – to protect against discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

AICUM’s full comment can be viewed here.

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) was founded by independent college presidents and today comprises 55 degree-granting, accredited independent colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. It is the leading voice on public policy matters affecting independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts. AICUM plays a critical role in advocating for college affordability, including state and federal funding for need-based student financial aid, federal research support and addressing state and Federal legislative and regulatory issues.