Penn State, higher ed community share concerns for proposed Title IX changes

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State joined colleges and universities around the country in providing feedback through several national education associations on proposed changes to Title IX regulations announced by the Department of Education in November.  

As one of the 62 members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), Penn State consulted with the organization, which then provided formal comments to the education department on the proposed regulatory changes. The American Council on Education (ACE), which represents over 1,700 colleges and university executives, also submitted comments to the Department of Education, and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) issued a public statement on the matter. Penn State is a member of all three organizations.

In total, more than 100,000 comments were submitted to the Department of Education by the close of the public comment period on Jan. 30. The education department will review the comments before issuing a final decision on new regulations.     

The prospective updates from the Department of Education, which were announced by the department in a 144-page document on Nov. 16, would further regulate how colleges and universities respond to sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations brought against students and employees. The update, according to higher education associations, would impose a “one-size-fits-all approach” in Title IX disciplinary proceedings, which would not allow schools to have the flexibility to determine the best approach for their particular community. 

“As we await further guidance from the Department of Education, Penn State will remain steadfast in its commitment to the safety, security and well-being of its students and employees. Sexual and gender-based harassment and misconduct will not be tolerated at Penn State,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “The University has a comprehensive policy on these matters and offers an array of resources for victims.” 

The University encourages individuals who have been victims of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct to report such behavior by contacting the University’s Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. Community members also may choose to make a report to law enforcement. In the event of an emergency, seek immediate assistance by calling 911.