The Board of Trustees approved Western Michigan University’s interim policy on Title IX at the June 25 meeting.
According to the email sent out by the Board, the university had to implement a policy to meet federal regulations by August 14.
“Due to the disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the timeline between the release of the new regulations and the June 25 Board of Trustees meeting did not allow adequate time for revisions and an ample public comment period,” the email reads. “To address this challenge, the Office of Institutional Equity, General Counsel and the Title IX Committee worked together to produce an interim policy that meets Department of Education requirements, but also goes beyond the mandated elements to better serve our community’s needs.”
The email mentions the changes made as a result of the policy which include:
● Designating that WMU’s policy will continue to address a broad range of sexual and gender-based misconduct that reflects our community standards and expectations to encompass Title IX-defined sexual harassment and other sexual and gender-based misconduct, regardless of the location of the incident or status of the person alleging the harm.
● Removing the mandated reporter framework put in place under previous Department of Education guidance. We are transitioning to a smaller list of administrators and staff members who will be required to report misconduct; faculty will no longer be required to report. The Title IX Final Rule suggests this will give students and employees more options for confidential conversations.
● Creating a cross-functional team to assess incoming reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct.
● The grievance procedures were moved from the policy to a separate document that will be posted on the Office of Institutional Equity website.
“The Office of Institutional Equity monitors changes at the state and federal levels and works to ensure that our policies and practices remain relevant, equitable and effective for all members of the WMU community,” the email reads. “Our shared goal is to promote a safe environment and fair treatment for all individuals.”
The Board will have a public comment period in Sept. for questions and feedback. They will create a final policy and vote on it in December.