October 11, 2017
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Given recently issued interim guidance on Title IX by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), we want to ensure you know that Seattle U’s current policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct remain in effect and we have no plans to change them at this time while the interim OCR guidance is in effect.
On Sept. 22, 2017, OCR withdrew prior (2011 and 2014) guidance and issued a new 2017 Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct, stating that it intends to engage in a rulemaking process regarding the Title IX responsibilities of schools as it pertains to sexual misconduct complaints. At this time no dates have been announced, though we anticipate OCR will solicit input from stakeholders and the public in the coming months. The Office of Institutional Equity will be monitoring opportunities for Seattle U to participate and will provide information on how members of our community can lend their voices to this process.
In the interim, the 2017 Q&A, along with OCR’s 2001 Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance, which was not rescinded, provide information about how OCR will assess a school’s compliance with Title IX until new formal guidance is issued.
During this period of uncertainty with the interim guidance and around what changes are yet to come at the federal level, please know that Seattle U remains committed to providing a safe and equitable learning, living and working environment, and to maintaining and continually improving upon our efforts to prevent and best respond to incidences of sexual misconduct impacting members of our community. While federal law and guidance serves as a baseline for our policies, it is our mission and values that sustain our resolve on this issue.
Section 4.6 of our Code of Student Conduct, in addition to providing definitions, reporting options, resources and other relevant information, outlines the investigation and conduct process for matters in which a student is accused of a sexual offense, dating or domestic violence and/or stalking. The process is designed to be thorough, prompt and fair. The policy and process outlined are consistent with both the withdrawn and the new, interim OCR guidance, and, as previously stated, remain in effect.
For more specific information regarding OCR’s interim guidance (including standards of proof and timelines) and how it relates to Seattle U, please read our FAQ on Updated Title IX Guidance.
Lastly, while OCR’s interim guidance primarily focuses on the complaint process, we want to take this time to highlight additional areas of our focus. Seattle U provides emergency, medical and other support resources, as well as assistance with safety and support measures, to all community members who have experienced or been impacted by sexual misconduct, whether or not they pursue a formal complaint. In addition, Seattle U remains committed to education and prevention efforts, and we encourage all community members to get involved in making our campus safer for everyone.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Institutional Equity.
Andrea Herrera Katahira
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity
Chief EEO Officer
Title IX Coordinator
Vice President for Student Development