WASHINGTON, D.C. – In January 2019, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) offered comments on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations on implementing Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (Docket ED-2018-OCR-0064-0001). Our comments were grounded in the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and developed through a rigorous process of reflection and discernment. A full copy of that correspondence can be found here.
AJCU identified areas of concern with the regulations, and made recommendations to the Department to improve the proposed polices, including: addressing off-campus incidents of harassment; using trauma-informed approaches to investigations; giving consideration to concerns about live cross-examination; recognizing the unintended chilling effects of the proposed regulation on students bringing complaints forward; and submitting recommendations for providing research/evidence-based guidelines and best practices for institutions, using informal resolution to ensure fairness, non–coercive and equitable treatment.
While it will take time to understand the 2,000 pages of new regulations, our initial review gives us cause for concern: few, if any, of the recommendations suggested by AJCU and others in the higher education community were adopted in these final regulations released by the Department of Education. Guided by our core Jesuit value of cura personalis, or care for the whole person, AJCU is deeply concerned that these final regulations will have a negative impact on the lives of individuals within our campus communities.
Further, AJCU is dismayed that the final regulations are being released in the midst of a pandemic that has left students and institutions of higher education reeling. AJCU joined other higher education associations to plead with the Department to delay the release of any final Title IX regulations. Requiring that institutions of higher education implement these regulations by August 14, 2020 is unreasonable and unrealistic, given the complexities of the regulations and the complexities of the times.