MSCHE Urges Flexibility in USDE Title IX Review

In response to the request by the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for comments to improve enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) submitted written feedback on June 11, 2021, voicing support of the USDE’s reconsideration of the recently implemented 2020 amendments to the Title IX regulations.

MSCHE President Dr. Heather F. Perfetti urged “the Department to establish a broad, more flexible framework without prescribing specific activities or procedures. The framework should ensure the prompt review of allegations of sexual misconduct through a fair and impartial process that affords all parties appropriate due process and provides for equitable resolution. Within a broad, more flexible framework, institutions should be able to determine the most effective and efficient way to conduct disciplinary reviews in order to comply with Title IX expectations and provide for a safe environment for constituents.”

The Commission supports the intent of the 2020 amendments, but representatives from its diverse membership of 524 postsecondary institutions, which serve over 4 million students, have voiced concerns about the rigid approach and application.

“Although the 2020 amendments represent many improvements from the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, the amendments also established prescriptive requirements that created a one-size-fits-all approach that can be extraordinarily burdensome and costly to implement for many institutions, especially smaller institutions with low enrollment and limited funding,” Dr. Perfetti said.

The written comments supplement virtual public hearings held by OCR from June 7, 2021, to June 11, 2021.

Read the letter here