Message to the Bowdoin Community—New Title IX Rules (May 6, 2020)

To the Bowdoin community,

As you may know, the US Department of Education today released new federal Title IX regulations governing, among other things, how colleges and universities respond to cases of sexual misconduct. We are in the process of carefully reviewing the rules to make sure we have a full understanding of how they will affect our polices, processes, and procedures here at Bowdoin.
While there is certainly a case to be made for more clarity in how the law applies to our operations, we and many of our peers have expressed strong reservations about aspects of what had been proposed back in the fall of 2018. The proposals generated more than 120,000 comments after they were formally submitted to the Department of Education, and, last January, Bowdoin joined with many peer institutions in submitting detailed and extensive comments about portions of the proposed rules dealing with gender-based violence, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment.

As we review the new regulations, I want to reemphasize that sexual and gender-based misconduct, sexual and gender-based discrimination, and sexual and gender-based harassment will not be tolerated at Bowdoin. I encourage you to review the many resources at the College that inform and assist members of our community in preventing sexual and gender-based violence, along with information on how to report incidents. While we will, of course, follow the law, we will always seek to do so in ways that reflect our values and that provide a process for dealing with these matters that is fair, rigorous, and transparent.

I invite members of the Bowdoin community to review the new rules on your own and to submit your comments or questions to us via email. On Sunday, May 10, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. EDT, Benje Douglas, our director of gender violence prevention and education & Title IX coordinator, will host a webinar on Zoom for those who would like to discuss these new regulations and their impact on our policies and procedures. Benje is also available via email to answer student questions or to schedule follow-up conversations.

I encourage you to participate in the webinar or to reach out individually to Benje, and I hope you are staying safe and healthy during these challenging days.