To the Yale Community,
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education released new regulations that reshape federal requirements for the way Yale and other educational institutions address sexual misconduct under Title IX.
These new regulations will prompt some changes to Yale’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures, but they will not change our fundamental philosophy: sexual misconduct is inimical to our community values. Our commitment to addressing sexual misconduct—to cultivating a culture of respect and inclusion where all members of our community can pursue their academic and professional aspirations—is unwavering.
For now, Yale’s current sexual misconduct policies and procedures remain in place. It is too soon to say exactly what changes we will make to align our policies and procedures with the new regulations. We and our colleagues across the country need to study the new federal rules in detail before we implement any changes to our process. Here in Connecticut, we may also need to adapt to new state requirements—the Connecticut legislature has already appointed a task force to review the federal regulations when issued, and its actions may shape our local options. The U.S. Department of Education has given schools until August 14 to comply with the new Title IX regulations.
What remains clear is that Yale will continue to prioritize sexual misconduct education, prevention, and response throughout our community. Our current policies, educational initiatives, and trainings have been carefully constructed; we will bring the same level of care to the task of aligning our processes with new federal and state mandates.
Other elements that are already coming into focus:
- The new Title IX regulations primarily appear to affect our formal disciplinary process. Some members of our community are concerned that the changes to our process required by these new regulations will deter survivors from pursuing formal complaints. We are confident that the university will continue to provide balance, fairness, and support to the parties in these cases, even as it adapts to the new regulations.
- In past years, fewer than 10 percent of complainants chose to pursue a formal complaint. The vast majority of individuals who came forward instead sought supportive measures and accommodations, and the new regulations will not force complainants into formal processes that they do not wish to pursue. The Title IX Office, in collaboration with SHARE and the Yale Police Department, will continue to provide those services.
- We have opportunities to expand our options for response. The new Title IX rules more clearly permit alternative modes of resolution such as mediation. Members of Yale’s Title IX Steering Committee have begun exploring this additional modality and other options that may have the potential to meet a broad range of individual and community needs.
We write this message in a time of obvious uncertainty and anxiety, and, for many of you, the impact of the new Title IX regulations may be another source of worry. Please trust that we will be making any necessary adjustments with thoughtfulness and care. We are dedicated to having an appropriate array of fair, supportive, effective processes to prevent sexual misconduct and to address it when it occurs.
In the meantime, please remember that the staff of the SHARE Center, the Title IX Office, the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, and the YPD continue to work with community members through phone, Zoom, email, and the LiveSafe app. You can access all of them through the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention website.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity
University Title IX Coordinator