Aug. 5, 2022: Proposed Title IX Regulations

NOTE: This letter refers to situations that may trigger traumatic memories for members of our community. Resources and assistance are available through multiple campus programs.

Dear Spartans,

Upon the 50th Anniversary of Title IX — the law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions — a notice of proposed rulemaking was released by the federal Department of Education. The proposed changes are currently open for public comment until Sept. 12. After reviewing these public comments, the department will finalize and publish final regulations. Until final regulations become effective, which will take some time, MSU must continue to comply with the existing Title IX regulations.

The following is a summary of the more significant proposed changes that have been made to the existing Title IX regulations:

  • Use of the term “sex-based” harassment rather than “sexual” harassment.
  • Expansion of the definition of “harassment” to include conduct that creates a hostile environment.
  • Expansion of training requirements for all employees.
  • Requirement for institutions to address additional off-campus conduct.
  • Expansion of requirements concerning when universities must respond to information about sex discrimination.
  • Changes made to employee reporting obligations.
  • Expansion of the role of the Title IX Coordinator, or designees.
  • Setting forth two sets of grievance procedures – one that applies to all complaints of sex discrimination and additional procedures that are required only for sex-based harassment involving a student.
  • Discretion to offer informal resolution.
  • Retaliation defined as a form of sex discrimination, requiring the same response and grievance procedures as other forms of sex discrimination.
  • Allowance for temporary measures that burden a respondent but must not be more restrictive than necessary to restore or preserve the claimant’s access.
  • Permitting emergency removal of a student based on an immediate and serious threat to mental, not just physical, health or safety.
  • Continuation of strict privacy protections for parties and witnesses.

These proposed changes do not address Title IX athletics requirements, but the Department of Education will engage in separate rulemaking to address Title IX’s application to athletics.

MSU experts are carefully reviewing the proposed regulations and analyzing the impact that they may have on our university. Because of the particular challenges MSU has faced over the past several years, we know that our current Relationship Violence and Title IX Policy, released in 2020, has gone beyond the scope of what was required under the 2020 regulations. We do not anticipate a major overhaul of our current policies. However, we will continue to do what is necessary to comply with the law as well as uphold our commitment to supporting those who have experienced harm on our campus.

Transparency and a safe and supportive environment for all students, faculty and staff remain our priorities in this process. We encourage you to review the proposed regulations and if you would like to share your own individual feedback to the Department of Education you can do so through the Federal Register.

Thank you,

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. (he/him)

Karey Krondfeldt (she/her)
Interim Associate Vice President
Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance

Nikki Schmidtke (she/her)
Title IX Coordinator