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Update on Department of Education's Title IX policy changes

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 In May, the United States Department of Education released sweeping regulations directing schools to implement procedures to redress Title IX-based reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault. DePaul is joining higher education institutions across the country in implementing changes in light of these new regulations, which went into effect on Aug. 14, 2020. In response to the DOE's deadline to comply with its new regulations, an interim addition to DePaul policies and procedures went into effect on Aug. 14.

Title IX now mandates that certain procedures be utilized for hearings involving conduct prohibited by the Violence Against Women Act, such as stalking, domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault, as well as "quid pro quo" harassment by employees and harassment that is severe, pervasive and objectively offensive. Over the summer, DePaul's Office of Gender Equity worked alongside Human Resources, Academic Affairs, the Dean of Students Office and the Office of General Counsel to develop the interim Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures. The name derives from the DOE's use of the term “harassment" to encompass many forms of sex-based misconduct. 

“The team that met over the summer gathered against the backdrop of and within the limitations imposed by COVID-19," says Vice President for Student Affairs Eugene Zdziarski. “Yet they still managed to create a comprehensive, considered, stand-alone policy that reflects DePaul's commitment to providing an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual assault, while fostering a culture of respect and safety and implementing best practices."

Although the Title IX regulations mandated an implementation date prior to the start of the academic year, the new 22-page policy will go through DePaul's formal review process in the coming months, including a presentation to the Policy Review Group and revisions based on faculty, staff and student feedback.  

The interim policy, which is now available to the DePaul community, reflects new procedures that must be utilized by schools, as well as a continuing commitment to providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment. The policy includes:

  • Changes to the hearing process: The most significant and challenging departure from DePaul's existing procedures involves hearings for Title IX conduct occurring on or after Aug. 14, 2020. Hearings will include advisors for each party, and cross examinations of parties and witnesses by advisors. The regulations also mandate that Title IX cases involving faculty and staff be adjudicated through a hearing, unless both parties mutually agree to informal resolution. This is a change from past DePaul processes for faculty and staff. 
  • The definition of responsible employee: As outlined in June's Newsline article, employees not designated as confidential resources must promptly report sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other sexual misconduct, to the Title IX Coordinator. They can do so by completing the electronic report form or by emailing
  • Expectations for the DePaul community: The DePaul community will be expected to continue to comply with DePaul's existing Sexual & Relationship Violence Prevention and Response policy and Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures. Under the new Title IX regulations, complaints of sex-based misconduct that did not occur within a university educational program or activity, or occurred outside of the United States, will be dismissed. However, sexual misconduct or other discrimination on the basis of sex that does not fall within the jurisdiction of Title IX may still violate university policy, and can still be investigated and addressed based on DePaul's existing policies. This applies to both students and employees.

Please know that creating and fostering an environment where everyone is respected and safe still remains one of DePaul's top priorities. For any questions, concerns or feedback during this time, please email the Office of Gender Equity at or call (312) 362-8970.