Four key to-dos in the wake of the Dear Colleague announcement

On September 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proclaimed the end of “the rule by letter,” announcing that the landmark Obama administration 2011 Dear Colleague Letter will be replaced. Many university leaders and higher education professional associations will be closely watching what happens with the Department of Education’s review across the coming months.

While EAB will also be closely monitoring the full review process, our primary recommendation for university leaders right now is to reassure students, faculty, and staff that your institution remains committed to seriously addressing the issue of campus sexual violence. We've assembled four key to dos for review at your institution.

  1. Remind the campus community about all the available resources for students, faculty, and staff who have experienced or are affected by sexual violence.
  2. Emphasize how students should feel comfortable and confident coming forward to report an issue or concern on campus.
  3. Reiterate the importance of ongoing sexual violence training efforts for faculty, students, and staff.
  4. Remind the campus community of your institution’s current policies on investigations and adjudications.

While the 2011 Dear Colleague letter wasn’t perfect, it shined a spotlight on the issue of campus sexual violence, empowered survivors to come forward, and started a national conversation. Regardless of what happens with the Department of Education review and subsequent policy changes, the pressure on colleges and universities from students, parents, alumni, and advocacy groups is here to stay.

Want to learn more about preventing sexual misconduct on your campus?

Our Sexual Misconduct Reporting study outlines practices and strategies to improve campus reporting in five keys areas. Download a complimentary excerpt of the publication.

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